Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered Cognitive Psychology. Although it has a long history, its short one is also very interesting. The human mind has always attracted a lot of attention. Even Aristotle, a philosopher from ancient times, was fascinated by the mechanisms of our minds. General definition of psychology is the study both of mental processes and behavior. This definition is also used for Cognitive Psychology. Behaviorism is an independent study that can be contrasted and compared to cognitive psychology. Cognitive Psychology observes some behaviors but this is just a stepping stone to gaining a better understanding of the mental processes that are going on “under-the-hood”. Attention, memory, language understanding, and problem solving are all part of these intricate processes. We rarely “think” of ourselves when we are actually thinking. John B. Watson argued that psychology should be separated from consciousness so we can focus exclusively on the behavioral viewpoint. Cognitive Psychology can’t use many of the experimental methods used to research measurements, repeatability and observations. These methods have played a major role in developing some of the biggest breakthroughs of all time.
Watson’s method was called Behaviorism. It dismissed the science of psychology and emphasized the study observable stimuli and observable responses. Behaviorism is also known as S-R Psychology. Cognitive Psychology is a little more observant of brain activity, but it doesn’t explain the behavior as well. Although behaviorists don’t dismiss the importance of consciousness, they reject any meaningful study. Both psychologists want to understand everything about the mind. Cognitive Psychologist is a person who believes in the study of mind’s actual processing. The behaviorists believe that the human behaviour is key to fully understanding how our brains function and work. Both agree that their research would be “stuck” without consciousness or behaviors. Pre-attentive and Post-attentive Processing are the main terms used to describe our attention research. Pre-attentive processes are characterized by their rapidity, especially before the stimulus has been fully focused. This is when one comes to a conclusion even before starting to think. Synesthetic experiences include pre-attentive thinking. The way we perceive objects differs between pre-attentive processing and post-attentive processing. We may count items if the number is greater than a certain amount, or pay more attention to something if it was processed post-attentive. You may not have counted in your mind the two sheep when you were counting them pre-attentively. Your brain automatically processed the two sheep as two. You would probably have the same experience if there were 7 sheep. Counting each sheep until you reach number 7.
Subitizing means easy and quick. This can be seen when counting two sheep. It is much easier to count two than many. Subitizing takes less time than counting. It is also faster if the item is under three. Executive attention is a process in which we strategically focus our attention on a situation. Recent research has struggled to describe what might be called “cognitive regulation”. Many researchers have described executive attention in a way that is becoming a direct object of focus. You may, for example, be doing your homework while reading research, typing and listening to music in the background. We can direct our attention in many ways depending on how important or relevant a subject is. Stroop occurs when a colored word is printed with a different shade of color. The Stroop effect is present when we see a color word printed in a different ink color than the actual word. This is important for executive attention, because we need to focus on the color and not the printed word. Operation span is the term used to describe the control we have over where our attention goes. Operation span is a way to measure a person’s capacity to track multiple types of information. It may be related to the inhibition, which can prevent you from taking in certain information. The inability of the attention to be focused on your homework and not listen to background music. (Fernandez Duque) A hypnotist is a good example of how people perceive agency. They believe that they were hypnotized into doing the actions. The hoax has been exposed, so people unknowingly choose to perform the actions. The hypnotist’s instructions can make people feel as if they aren’t in control. If you’re painting, your metacognition may be high. You are aware of the colors and strokes you make with your paintbrush. You choose the color and subject of your painting consciously. Here is an example where you can be in full control while knowing that it’s you doing the work. (Carr)