Introduction: According to the book, Psychology in Perspective, the
definition to Cognitive Perspective is “a psychological approach that
emphasizes mental processes in perception, memory, language, problem solving
and other areas of behavior.” (Wade 2001).
Mental process is a term that is
used for all the things that a person can do with his or her mind. A person’s
behavior can affect their mental process as well as his or her mental process
their behavior. Behavior refers to any observable action made by a living
person. For instance, a person likes sweets; that is the mental process, so she
eats sweets or chooses not to eat sweets; that is the behavior. The following
research will discuss these mental processes and the advantages and
disadvantages of the Cognitive Perspective. The mental processes that will be
discussed as mentioned above will be: perception, memory, language, and problem
Processes – Perception:
Perception is the process by which the brain organizes and interprets sensory
information. Sensory includes both physical (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch)
as well as the cognitive processes involved in interpreting those senses. It is
how people come to understand the world around them through interpretation of
stimuli. More specifically and to give an ideal example is visual perception.
Visual perception is as it is named, the process of observing what is seen,
organizing it in the brain, and making sense of it. The best example that is
used constantly is reading. A child learns letters, they then learn how to
connect them and sound them out until they become words. Once the letters are
words, they are connected to form sentences, and from there sentences to
paragraphs, to stories, etc. Looking at the words in a book and being able to
comprehend what one is reading is visual perception at work.
Processes – Memory: When they are asked to define memory, most people think
of a childhood experience or recalling where we put a misplaced item. However,
memory is essential in our everyday lives. We would not be able to function in
the present or move forward without relying on it. The process of memory starts right from the moment a person is
born and occurs continuously. A memory will be picked up by one or more of our
senses and it will start off in short term storage. Short term memory (STM) is
A limited-capacity memory system involved in the retention of information for
brief periods (book). Once the process is learned, the memory is then stored in
long-term memory. Long-term memory is (LTM) is the memory system involved in
the long-term storage of information (Wade 2001). A great example of this
process is a girl learning to tie her hair in a ponytail. At first it takes
practice, then eventually it is mastered without consciously thinking about the
There are several steps a memory
can transfer from short-term memory to long-term such as, by repetition or
association, and motivation. Repetition could be like studying for a test or
learning a song. Association occurs when you associate a memory with previously
acquired knowledge like matching a name with an object. For example, Mrs. Stone
with a pebble. Lastly, Motivation is considered a process of memory. It is said
that information relating to something a person is highly interested in is more
likely to store in long-term memory.
Most of the time a person is not
aware of what is stored in their memory until the particular memory is needed.
A person then uses the process of retrieval. As stated previously, this is done
without having to ‘think’ about it. Now,
how does this tie into the cognitive perspective? As previously mentioned,
cognitive abilities are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from
the simplest to the most complex. These abilities are learned and then stored
in our memory for future reference. memory.
Processes – Language: Language is a system that combines meaningless
elements such as sounds or gestures to form structured utterances that convey
meaning. (Wade 2001) When it comes to language in the Cognitive Perspective, one
must first understand cognition then language. For instance, a child introduced
to a cat will know what a cat is (furry, soft, meows, etc.) first, then he will
learn the word ‘kitty’ as the name of that animal. In other words, the child
learns the concept of ‘kitty’ and then learns how to map the word ‘kitty’ to
Processes – Problem Solving: Problem-Solving
is defined as, “cognitive
processing directed at achieving a goal when the problem solver does not initially
know a solution method. A problem exists when someone has a goal but does not
know how to achieve it.” (CITE). This involves all of the steps in the problem
process, including the discovery of the problem, the decision to tackle the
issue, understanding the problem, researching the available options and taking
actions to achieve your goals.
The problem-solving process there
are steps that must be followed including the discovery of the problem, the
decision to tackle the issue, understanding the problem, researching the
available options, and taking actions to achieve the goal of problem solving.
Most importantly, one must understand the nature of the problem itself before
beginning to find a solution, if your understanding is unclear than your
attempts to solving may be incorrect.
and Disadvantages of Cognitive Perspective: The Cognitive Perspective has many practical
applications and relies on experiments as its main research method. The mental
processes all stem off of experiences in order to collect data and proof.
Experiments allow for cause and effect to be determined, which to an extent the
applications must be practical to strengthen this advantage. Most importantly,
the experiments must have high control over variables.
One advantage of the Cognitive
Perspective is that it focuses on peoples thought process. The Cognitive
Perspective looks inside the human and tries to interpret stimuli. It
highlights how cognition affects behavior and why it is important for people to
understand how their brain works
Another advantage of the Cognitive
Perspective is that it is not just useful for learning about the thought
process, it also interlinks with behavior. It easily works together, like
stated before cognition can affect one’s behavior just as one’s behavior can
affect their cognition. This is ideal in a situation such as therapy. Cognitive-behavioral
therapy, for example, is where they combine the two and try to connect the
wrong cognitive process to produce more favorable behaviors.
of Cognitive Perspective:
Although the Cognitive Perspective may be popular with many psychologist, it is
not perfect. There are disadvantages to the Cognitive Perspective as well. The
first disadvantage is that it ignores some of the other factors when it comes
to understanding human behavior. Some of the ignored factors include genes,
experiences, biological structures, and even chemical imbalances. This can then
lead to generalization of human behavior.
disadvantage of Cognitive Perspective is it is based on controlled experiments.
The psychologist can control the experiment, thus leading to satisfactory
results. However, these experiments may not be as valid as they seem. If a
psychologist observes people un a controlled environment they only get
responses by stimuli that the subjects are exposed to, and not the real world.
In the real world, people are exposed to several stimuli all at once and they
have to react or behave on the mixture of information.
There are several
psychological perspectives that attempt to define human behavior, and one of
these is the cognitive perspective. As discussed previously, this perspective
focuses solely on internal and invisible mental processes that allow a human to
react to extremal stimuli. This perspective looks at how a person processes information
that they get from their senses and how they respond to that information. This perspective
would be best used to describe complex human behavior to simple cognitive
processes. However, looking at the disadvantages section of this research
paper, one will see that the cognitive perspective alone cannot determine all