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PSYCH206: Cognitive Psychology

Unit 1: An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology   Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline in psychology that is generally interested in looking at how sensory input is transformed into beliefs and actions.  Cognitive psychologists are concerned with internal mental processes and draw from a wide range of other subdisciplines of psychology.  The history of cognitive psychology, like many other disciplines in psychology, is rooted in philosophy, which sought to explain the process by which the human mind transformed and used information from the environment.  In this unit, you will (a) be introduced to the broadest definition of cognitive psychology, (b) learn about the theoretical assumptions undergirding this point of view, and (c) read about the historical context out of which cognitive psychology was born.     

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 11 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.2: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 5 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify underlying theoretical considerations in the field of cognitive psychology.
  • Describe the historical context in which cognitive psychology emerged as a field.
  • Define cognitive psychology as it was historically conceptualized.
  • Identify the main academic fields and other subdisciplines of psychology to which cognitive psychology is tied.

1.1 A Broad Overview of Cognitive Science   - Reading: University of Arizona: Lynn Nadel and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s “What is Cognitive Science?” Link: University of Arizona: Lynn Nadel and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s “What is Cognitive Science?” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the 15th publication listed here, entitled “What is Cognitive Science?” This article covers subunits 1.1.1–1.1.5.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.1.1 Definition of Cognitive Psychology   1.1.2 A Brief Overview of the History of Cognitive Psychology   1.1.3 Assumptions of Cognitive Science   1.1.4 Strategies and Methods of Cognitive Science   1.1.5 Questions of Cognitive Architecture   1.2 The Cognitive Revolution: Noam Chomsky’s Influence   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s version of Professor Paul Thagard’s “Behaviorism” and the Noam Chomsky website’s version of Dr. Noam Chomsky’s Readings in the Psychology of Language: “A Review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior” Links: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s version of Professor Paul Thagard’s “Behaviorism”(HTML) and the Noam Chomsky website’s version of Dr. Noam Chomsky’s Readings in the Psychology of Language: “A Review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior (HTML)
 
Instructions: For the first reading, please click on the link above and read the entirety of this article, which covers subunits 1.2.1–1.2.5.  Note that this article provides the background to understand the cognitive revolution which took place in reaction to the dominant perspective in the field at that time—that of behaviorism. 
 
For the second reading, which covers subunits 1.2.6–1.2.7, please click on the above link and read the original text of the seminal article by Noam Chomsky, which was credited with starting the cognitive revolution.
 
The second reading is a longer article and it is, at times, dense and more difficult to follow.  Please be sure to keep in mind that you are looking to gather the “main points” of Chomsky’s argument against behaviorism.  It may be helpful for you to take notes to this aim while reading the article.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.            

1.2.1 Behaviorism Defined   1.2.2 Three Types of Behaviorism   1.2.3 Roots and Popularity of Behaviorism   1.2.4 Skinner’s Social Worldview   1.2.5 Anti-Behaviorist   1.2.6 Chomsky’s Argument Against Behaviorism   1.2.7 Chomsky’s Impact on the Field of Psychology   - Reading: PubMed Central’s The Behavior Analyst (Journal): Dr. Javier Virués-Ortega (2006), “The Case Against B. F. Skinner 45 Years Later: An Encounter with N. Chomsky” Link: PubMed Central’s The Behavior Analyst (Journal): Dr. Javier Virués-Ortega (2006), “The Case Against B. F. Skinner 45?Years Later: An Encounter with N. Chomsky” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers subunits 1.2.7.  Please click on the link above and read the entirety of this interview with Noam Chomsky regarding the influence of his central argument against behaviorism, which is credited with starting the cognitive revolution.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.            

1.3 Cognitive Psychology and Philosophy: Historical Context   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s version of Professor Paul Thagard’s “Cognitive Science” and University of California, Berkeley: Dr. Carl Stahmer’s Pre-History of Cognitive Science’s Web: “Chronology Index” Links: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s version of Professor Paul Thagard’s “Cognitive Science”(HTML) and University of California, Berkeley: Dr. Carl Stahmer’s Pre-History of Cognitive Science’s Web: Chronological Index” (HTML)
 
Instructions: These readings cover subunits 1.3.1–1.3.3.  For the first reading, please click on the link above and read the entirety of this article.  The first reading will give you a sense of the basic underlying assumptions of cognitive psychology and how this subfield overlaps with philosophy. 
 
For the second reading, please click on the webpage and then open and read links to each of the authors listed on the right side of the webpage. The second reading will provide you with important original text readings of philosophers concerned with the study of the mental process of the mind.
 
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1.3.1 History of Cognitive Science   - Lecture: University of Houston: Dr. Richard Kasschau’s Lecture Series, Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: “Lecture 2” and “Lecture 3” Links: University of Houston: Dr. Richard Kasschau’s Lecture Series, Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: “Lecture 2” and “Lecture 3” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: These lectures cover subunit 1.3.1 and touch on subunits 1.3.2 and 1.3.3.  For lecture number 2, watch the last 10 minutes of the video starting at 67 minutes and 10 seconds.  For lecture number 3 watch the video through 68 minutes and 30 seconds, as the last 10 minutes cover another topic and are not relevant to the content.
 
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1.3.2 Theoretical Approaches   1.3.3 Philosophical Relevance