Cognitive psychology is a young branch of psychology which involves the study of mental processes: every other process that goes inside brain including attention, perception, language, memory, problem solving, decision making, creative thinking and thought processes. It looks at how one acquire information one received and how treatment of this information lead to one’s responses, that is in simple word perception, acquisition and retention of information. Historically the study of Cognitive psychology is rooted in the philosophical approaches towards understanding the functioning of the brain using introspection, while in Biology they studied the working of the brain and nervous system using observational methods. Cognitive psychology became of great importance in the mid-1950s. Its birth is often dated back to discovery of George Miller’s (1956) “The magical number 7 plus or minus 2.” Study of cognitive psychology includes human experimental psychology, computer analogies information processing approach and cognitive neuroscience.
While talking about the recent time, cognitive psychology as a branch has grown rapidly in terms of research and contextual study and is one of the most popular subfields of psychology. Apart, it has a wide spread influence on other branches of psychology. Researches in this field has given various practical applications like ways to cope with mental illnesses and brain injuries, enhancing one’s learning skills, accurate ways of decision making processes and so on. Findings in cognitive psychology have also improved our understanding of how people gain, store, and recall memories. Also, therapy treatments rooted in cognitive research focus on helping people change their negative thought patterns and replace such thoughts with more positive and realistic ones.
With the advances of cognitive approach in experimental psychology and the stress on consciousness within humanistic psychology and post-Freudian psychoanalysis, consciousness has made a considerable comeback. As a school of thought, cognitive psychology has influenced several followers and gained great achievements. And accordingly by 2010, there were more than 40 journals issued, dealing with different features of cognitive psychology.
Cognitive psychologists tried to extend and merge the work of several major disciplines in a combined study of how the mind attains knowledge. Despite criticism, the multidisciplinary approach has grown rapidly. By that time, the cognitive approach to the study of mental phenomenon and mental processes has come to govern psychology. A recent extension of cognitive psychology called embedded cognition recognizes that there are physical aspects of cognition in brain activity and in sensation and perception. It specifies that perceptual and motor response systems affect and often determine the cognitive processes that occur in the mind. Another important topic in cognitive psychology is cognitive overload, which deals with the familiar activity known as multitasking.
Like any other revolutions, cognitive psychology has never lacked critics. For example, most behaviorists opposed the cognitive movement. There are few concepts that the most cognitive psychologists agreed upon, and there are confusion still regarding jargon and definitions. Another criticism is directed towards the overemphasis on thought processes at the cost of other’s guidance on thought and behavior, such as motivation and emotion. Some suggest that this result is a narrow and a pure approach to the field. There are many theories that shows the impact of cognition as a subject in the field of psychology. Some recent researches in the field of cognitive psychology which depicts the practical application of cognitive psychology are mentioned below.
A study conducted by Jin Jung and Jai-Woo oh (2019), was to provide an empirical basic data on the measures to improve the quality of life and satisfaction of the elderly by analyzing the effect of transfer income on cognitive impairment among the elderly’s income which include both public and private transfer incomes. Public income transfer includes an average monthly allowance received from all acquaintances, including children, relatives, etc. And private income included both pension savings and pension insurance depending on whether there were income deductions or not. A long survey was conducted by them and result showed majority elderly who took survey were from the age group 75-79 and had a family living with them. Also majority were middle school pass outs and 62.3% were mentally fit, 29.5% of elderly had cognitive impairment while 8.2% had severe cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment showed a statistically significant proportional relation correlation with educational attainment.
Also, Cognitive impairment was significantly associated with age at the time of enrollment, national pension, property income and personal pension had statistically significant proportional correlations. There was a statistically significant inverse proportional correlation between basic livelihood security recipients. Therefore, the results of this study show that the effect of the cognitive impairment of elderly people’s transfer income is sufficiently confirmed. This research states how quality of life can affect an individual’s cognitive functions.
Another, research on “Role of Cognitive Retraining in improving Attention in Children with Learning Disabilities” by Abraham Bose and Masroor Jahan (2018), was to study the improvement in attention of children with learning disabilities using pre-post treatment design. 10 participants included in the study of 8 to 13 years (with IQ ranging from 92-102) with specific developmental learning disorders as per ICD 10 DCR criteria. Group and individual sessions of 30-40 minutes were taken for three weeks as pre-post treatment. The result showed that there was statistically significant difference in pre-post treatment condition suggesting that attention improved after the cognitive training programme. There was a significant improvement in alternating and sustained visual attention, focused attention, cognitive flexibility of the children. The above results suggest that there was an improvement in attention span of children because the present study used several cancellation tests and its alterations in terms of reducing and increasing size and spacing of letters and numbers as a part of cognitive retaining task. Sustained attention helps children with learning disabilities to be more alert and also helps to attend a task for a significant period of time even with distracters which may help them to perform better in their academic tasks. This present study suggests that cognitive retraining can improve attentional abilities of children with learning disabilities. This practice can be widely used in schools for students with learning disabilities and also with children who lack attention in studies.
Another research conducted by Dr. Rekha Rani (2017), was to study the relationship between cognitive styles and problem solving abilities of senior secondary school students of Chandigarh. They included 150 class XI students of arts and science stream. The result shows that 40.66% of students use split cognitive styles of problem solving technique which indicates they do not possess integrated behavioral responses, 46.66% uses undifferentiated cognitive style that is they rely on outside sources for problem solving process. Whereas, 8% students use intuitive problem solving style, where they are unpredictable of the analytical steps used while problem solving. There were only 4.66% of students who used systematic style for problem solving, where they could define step by step process while solving problem. And no students used integrated cognitive style for problem solving. Which again gave the result that only 6% of students had very high problem solving abilities, majority students were in the average category and very few had very low problem solving ability. It is observed that more than 30% of the students of class XI are not able to solve the problem accurately. It is revealed that the relationship between cognitive styles and problem solving abilities of 150 students of class XI studying in Government Model Senior Secondary Schools students of Chandigarh is low as coefficient of correlation was found to be significant. Therefore, it was proved that there is an impact of cognitive style on problem solving ability. This theory can again be applied in practical life, as one can be taught the way one should think and approach a problem and find solution to it, during early development period.
Therefore, these theories prove that researches in cognitive psychology is not just limited to articles and lab but also researches related attention, problem solving, perception etc. are applicable in practical life. To conclude, cognitive psychology as a recent branch of psychology has received a great acceptance in terms of research and theoretical contexts and their wide range of practical applications. Cognitive psychology has also paved ways for researches in artificial intelligence, cognitive neuropsychology, social learning theories, in therapies and so on.
- Bose Abraham, Jahan Masroor. (2018, March). Role of cognitive retraining in improving attention in children with learning disabilities: Indian journal of clinical psychology. Vol: 45, (Pg.) 25-28.
- Current Status of Cognitive Psychology Essay. (2012, July 14). Retrieved from https://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/Current-Status-Of-Cognitive-Psychology
- Introduction to cognitive psychology: current status of cognitive psychology. (2013). Retrieved from https://oscareducation.blogspot.com/2013/03/current-status-of-cognitive-psychology.html
- Jin Jung, Jai-Woo oh. (2019, July). Impact of transfer income on cognitive impairment in the elderly (Series Ed.). Medico-legal update. Vol: 19, (pp.:411-416).doi:10.5958/0974-1283
- Rani Rekha. (2017). Relationship between cognitive styles and problem solving abilities of senior secondary school students. Asian journal of research in social sciences and humanities. Vol: 7, (pg.) 115-120.doi: 10.5958/2249-7315.