The Purpose of Cognitive and Behavioral Perspectives

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Table of contents

  1. Cognitive Psychology
  2. Behavioral Psychology
  3. Conclusion
  4. References

In Psychology, the study of Cognition and Behavior go hand in hand. However, they are also two psychological perspectives that can be compared. Cognitive Psychology is the study of how humans create thought process. Whereas, Behavioral Psychology or Behaviorism can be defined as the study of why humans behave the way they do. Behaviorism observes patterns in the behavior of humans and attempts to interpret what leads them to behave a certain way. They are both the study of how humans’ function daily, yet they have different focuses within that scope.

Cognitive Psychology

An important perspective in the world of Psychology is Cognitive Psychology. It focuses on cognitive functions such as the formation of speech, memory, and comprehension (Eysenck, Keane, 2015). An example of how the Cognitive aspect of the mind correlates with Behaviorism is by the observation of the behavior that is caused by cognitive functions. It is known that any action that a person makes is attributed to what is occurring in the brain. (Neisser, 2014). For example, picture a scenario where a middle-aged woman finds herself constantly late to social engagements. She has never been the irresponsible kind, yet she keeps embarrassing her family by showing up late. Cognitive study observes that her behavior is more than likely due to memory loss. The pattern of the woman’s behavior is her constant tardiness, and the psychological cognitive aspect is that she is gradually losing her memory. It is not because she is careless, more so it is because she does not remember she has somewhere to be. Which is due to her losing certain brain cells that stored her memory.

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Cognition can be characterized by how information is taken into the mind and stored. The information that has been obtained influences thoughts and interpretations (Neisser, 2014). The function leads to decision making and ultimately how actions take place. Noticeably, Cognitive Psychology can also be associated with Medical Science. For instance, there are many medical studies that are designated to detect brain damage such as Cognitive Neuropsychology. The study of Neuropsychology is aimed for people who have been dealt with severe damage to their brain due to illness and accidents. A major health complication that harms the brain and its functions is known as a stroke. A stroke causes not only physical impediments, but it also causes cognitive damage to the brain (Eysenck, Keane, 2015).

In a stroke, the brain loses brain cells that are crucial to cognitive functions. Typically, a person who has a stroke suffers from memory loss and speech impediments. A highly educated man that is subjected to brain damage from a stroke can completely lose all the knowledge he holds in his mind, as well as lose basic motor functions. In a severe scenario, a stroke patient might be reverted to the mental capability of a child. In another scenario, where he can recover from a stroke, he still may have to deal with long term effects. He becomes a very forgetful person due to the stroke that caused him to lose part of his brain cells that controlled the storage of his memory. He might also speak with an accent after being required to undergo speech therapy because he must regain the capability to properly form words and interpret words that are being spoken to him. With the study of the perspective of Cognitive Neuropsychology, Cognitive Psychologists and doctors can find ways to properly aid people with brain damage.

Behavioral Psychology

Behavioral Psychology, also known as Behaviorism is the study of the relationship between mind and behavior. It is the observation of how humans act, and the explanation of their behavior. Behaviorism focuses on how social environments as well as physical environments influence people’s thoughts and actions (Wendel, 2013). Behavioral Psychology is what indicates how humans conduct themselves and is also the examination of contrasting repetitions of behavior.

Serial killers can be observed with the Behaviorism perspective. Understanding what influences a serial killer may have had during their upbringing may give insight as to why the person has been negatively impacted in their mind, furthermore, leading them to become a serial killer. It is discussed that strange behavioral patterns of a child may demonstrate whether they will grow up to become a murderer. For example, it is said that at one point of a serial killer’s life, its first victim is typically an animal. It has been observed that as children, many serial killers have gotten the urge to hurt animals. After the child murders the animal, the urge to hurt and kill grows more and more within him. An additional attribution to the behavioral analysis of a serial killer would be the killer’s childhood. For instance, say a child grew up receiving verbal abuse from his mother who was a tall brunette. The adult serial killer then begins to look for his victims and falls into the pattern of targeting tall brunettes.

A certain behavioral pattern that a serial killer may follow can be found to be Attentional Bias. It is when a person acquires a recurring thought process that leads them to carry out the same repeated behavior (Wendel, 2013). For instance, the situation of a serial killer is an accurate representation of what Attentional Bias is. He becomes so obsessed with killing that he solely and constantly thinks of ways to find his next victim. He does not think about anything other than killing, and nothing else can stimulate him as much as the thought of killing. In hindsight, a bias way of thinking forms in his mind, where he dismisses all other nonviolent thoughts that his mind can have. The behavioral pattern that arises from that, is that every night without fail, the serial killer finds himself at a local mall stalking his next victims. Typically, all serial killers will have a pattern and it is important for psychologists as well as law enforcement to be able to understand and predict murderous behavior. They study of Behavioral Psychology is key because it aids in the capability of capturing serial killers in order to cease their terror on society.


In conclusion, the purpose of Cognitive and Behavioral Phycological perspectives is to ultimately understand how the human mind works. The two perspectives tie in with each other because the cognitive perspective determines what behavior will occur and behaviorism is about understanding human behavior. However, they both branch off into their own components. Cognitive Psychology differs from Behaviorism because it is the mere focus of what chemically occurs in the mind and how it affects a person. Behavioral Psychology gives attention to the impact that the mind has on one’s actions.


  1. Neisser, U. (2014). Cognitive psychology. New York: Psychology Press.
  2. Eysenck, M. W., & Keane, M. T. (2015). Cognitive psychology: A student’s handbook. London: Psychology Press.
  3. Wendel, S. (2015). Designing for behavior change: Applying psychology and behavioral economics. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.
  4. Spielman, R. M., Dumper, K., Jenkins, W., Lacombe, A., Lovett, M., & Perlmutter, M. (2017). Psychology. Houston, TX: OpenStax, Rice University.
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The Purpose of Cognitive and Behavioral Perspectives. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
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