Cognitive psychology: The brain key milestones

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Cognitive psychology is essential to the development of the scientific psychological field. Wilhelm Wundt was the first to take the science of psychology into the laboratory with the intention of studying human thoughts in 1879. The progression of significant and clarity of the academic process by which one gains knowledge through observation and thoughts (Encyclopedia Britannica on Line, 2010). Wundt thought of man who is at the beginning of the foundation of modern psychology. Cognitive psychology is an approach to psychology, which is one of the major approaches within psychology and thought of as a distinction with a behavioral view, or observational Psychology learning the issues of human behavior a theoretical view focusing on a person's unconscious mind and a focus on interpersonal, personal growth, and relationships (Cunia, 2005).

The Brain and Cognitive Functions

According to Willingham (2007), Cognitive Psychology has an array of viewpoints. In the field of cognitive psychology, the reporting is that schoolchildren who exercise at least 30 minutes daily and eat breakfast in the morning these students do much better than those who do not have one or the other or both. Presently the is especially drawing quite a bit of attention and is impacting the way teachers believe education is able to improve the learning process as well as the how educator's hold their students attention.

Brain images show that certain areas of the brain are active in a way that Neuroscientist can differentiate what part of the brain is processing cognitive activity, and what part of the brain does not communicate with other intelligences. The cognitive functions are comparable to that of a computer, the functioning portion that processes information, helps people's perception, the memory, decision-making. The memory in essence is the brains processor, if compared with a computer. 

The choice of a partner and intelligence is a good example of a study that found that hypothetically a substantial difference is essential for couple to have a reasonable distinction of intelligence when becoming a couple. Neuroscientists confirm at the same time the study reinforces the model's general consistency of the study. This requirement refers to the unconscious preference of unknown intelligence for current the current understanding of cognitive psychology.

Key Milestones in Cognitive Psychology

John Stuart Mills was into Associationism, which means to hook things together he wrote several books, on his belief that the human brain was active. Mills was an inspiration to Wundt, James, and Gestalt. The idea of psychology had an early beginning in the early 1700s, in Britain. However, Wilhelm Wundt began the first psychology laboratory at Leipzig, Germany in addition to publishing his first journal. Most consider Wundt as the founder of formal modern academic psychology. In addition, he is the first person in history given the title of psychologist. Wundt’s belief that observation of experiences what is psychology.

 A significant time in the area of the field of cognitive psychology is when Hermann Helmholtz put the study of physics and physiology together and many believe the greatest scientific mines of the nineteenth century Helmholtz contribution to the field is his theory on unconscious mind, or visual perception as it pertains to space. Helmholtz was also a sponsor of other natural sciences (Normansell, 2009).

 Toward the end of the twentieth century Hermann Ebbinghaus, a young philosopher who in 1879 started an experiment, which lasted until 1885, Ebbinghaus believed the brain had even more capabilities then Wundt discovered. Ebbinghaus the only subject of his experiment, proved how vital the memory is in the discovery of fundamental learning.

Thickener was one of many students of Wundt. Thickener’s view of consciousness was that of only three states, which the basic elements are that of touch, image, or the ability to see something in one’s mind, and affections, or emotion. By 1915, Thickener’s theory referred to more defined experiences, and he added to his original list. He would refer to each as “raw sensations” of light, sound, smell, and touch, perspectives consistent raw experiences, even emotions he associated with intensified feelings within the body (Willingham, 2007).

William James authored, Principles of Psychology, the first textbook on Psychology. James was a functionalist James thought of psychology as a natural science. Functionalism is when a person adapts to his or her living environment (Normansell, 2009). Although unwittingly Carl Lang and William James both start began working on a theory of related to cause and effect of the how the body reacts to certain stimuli. For example, a person is sad they cry, something is funny they laugh. Both created his theories separate from one another. However, because of the controversy of how each man could make the same discoveries at the same time. Therefore, the theory became the James-Lang Theory.

 Edward Tolman’s work demonstrated animals had internal and expectations and could be trained or learn and guided into a behavior. Tolman’s research supports the cognitive map of order. His work with rats learning their way through a maze no matter where he put them in the maze the rats could reach the final destination (Galotti, 1994).

The Difference between Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology

Understanding the human mind has enabled the view that focuses on the social impact on a person's qualities such as feelings, why people act how they do, and for what reasons. The importance between behavioral and cognitive Psychology is feedback. While behaviorism focuses on the feedback that comes the form of the function of or result of a person's environment. Cognitive Psychology focuses on how a person feels on the inside (Willingham, 2007).


Cognitive Psychology may be one of or the most important divisions of Psychology since it deal with the inner person, it helps people understand why they feel and have certain behaviors. Behaviorism and Cognitive Psychology are often confused, and the line can blur. Nonetheless, they are two separate branches of Psychology, yet each field compliments the other. Many men and women have contributed to the study of Psychology. From around the world each helped distinguish Cognitive Psychology in his or her own way. From the 18th century, the idea of studying the brain to the present with the technology available for even deeper studies Psychologists continue to make even more and new important discoveries.


Cunia, E. (2005). The Cognitive System [Review of the book Cognitive learning theory.

Principles of Instruction and Learning, by W. Huitt & J. Ruttan].

Retrieved from A Web Quest.

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2010). Cognitive Psychology. In Encyclopedia

Britannica. Retrieved from,

Galotti, K. M. (1994). Cognitive psychology in and out of the laboratory.

 Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks and Cole.

Normansell, L. (2009). History Cognitive Psychology [Data file]. Retrieved from

Willingham, D. T. (Ed.). (2007). Cognition the Thinking Animal (3rd ed.).

Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Pearson Prentice Hall.

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