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How Are Cognitive And Experimental Psychology Related

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What Is Applied Psychology

Experimental Cognitive Psychology. Dr. Gjisbert Stoet

Applied psychology uses psychological methods and findings to solve problems of the human experience. It is nearly impossible to develop a precise definition for applied psychology due to the sheer scope of the term. Findings are applied in fields such as clinical psychology, educational psychology, forensic psychology, sports psychology, and social psychology nearly every psychological discipline. Unless the field is exclusively research-based, applied psychology is involved.

An example of the breadth of applied psychology is the non-exhaustive sample of topics deemed appropriate for the Journal of Applied Psychology, which includes:

  • individual differences in abilities, personality, and other characteristics
  • performance measurement and management

Current Research In Cognitive Psychology

The field of cognitive psychology is both broad and diverse. It touches on many aspects of daily life. There are numerous practical applications for this research, such as providing help coping with memory disorders, making better decisions, recovering from brain injury, treating learning disorders, and structuring educational curricula to enhance learning.

Current research on cognitive psychology helps play a role in how professionals approach the treatment of mental illness, traumatic brain injury, and degenerative brain diseases.

Thanks to the work of cognitive psychologists, we can better pinpoint ways to measure human intellectual abilities, develop new strategies to combat memory problems, and decode the workings of the human brainall of which ultimately have a powerful impact on how we treat cognitive disorders.

The field of cognitive psychology is a rapidly growing area that continues to add to our understanding of the many influences that mental processes have on our health and daily lives.

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach that helps clients identify irrational beliefs and other cognitive distortions that are in conflict with reality and then aid them in replacing such thoughts with more realistic, healthy beliefs.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a psychological disorder that would benefit from the use of cognitive approaches, you might see a psychologist who has specific training in these cognitive treatment methods.

These professionals frequently go by titles other than cognitive psychologists, such as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or counseling psychologists, but many of the strategies they use are rooted in the cognitive tradition.

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Earlier Influences On Cognitive Psychology

The field of Cognitive Psychology did not come to light all of a sudden. Many of its attributes were anticipated way back when the field of psychology was not considered a formal science.

For instance, Greek Philosophers like Aristotle and Plato wrote pieces that highlighted human thought processes.

Besides this, Wilhelm Wundts work focused on consciousness when he established that psychology was a separate scientific discipline. Thus, we can consider Wundt as one of the first few contemporary psychologists who emphasized on human minds creative function.

In fact, even the structuralist and the functionalist schools of thought considered studying the elements and functions of consciousness.

However, Behaviorism was the only movement in psychology that disregarded Consciousness for almost 5 decades. Though, the movement had brought about a fundamental change in the field of psychology.

I. E.R. Guthrie

It was in the 1950s that the field of psychology reconsidered Consciousness. Additionally, this period also saw the beginning of the Cognitive psychology movement.

However, the signs of the ensuing movement were quite apparent in the 1930s. It was during this period that the behaviorist E.R. Guthrie disapproved of the mechanistic model of human psychology.

In addition to this, Guthrie explained that one cannot describe the term meaning solely in behaviorist terms. This is because the term meaning itself is a cognitive process.

II. E.C. Tolman

III. Gestalt Psychology

How Experimental Psychology Studies Behavior

MSc Experimental Psychology (Conversion)

What factors influence people’s behaviors and thoughts? Experimental psychology utilizes scientific methods to answer these questions by researching the mind and behavior. Experimental psychologists conduct experiments to learn more about why people do certain things.

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What Is Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology involves the study of internal mental processesall of the things that go on inside your brain, including perception, thinking, memory, attention, language, problem-solving, and learning.

Learning more about how people think and process information helps researchers gain a deeper understanding of how the human brain works. It also allows psychologists to develop new ways of helping people deal with psychological difficulties.

For example, by recognizing that attention is both a selective and limited resource, psychologists are able to come up with solutions that make it easier for people with attentional difficulties to improve their focus and concentration.

Philosophical Concerns With Cbt Methods

The methods employed in CBT research have not been the only criticisms some individuals have called its theory and therapy into question.

Slife and Williams write that one of the hidden assumptions in CBT is that of determinism, or the absence of free will. They argue that CBT holds that external stimuli from the environment enter the mind, causing different thoughts that cause emotional states: nowhere in CBT theory is agency, or free will, accounted for.

Another criticism of CBT theory, especially as applied to major depressive disorder , is that it confounds the symptoms of the disorder with its causes.

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What Is Experimental Psychology

The science of psychology spans several fields. There are dozens of disciplines in psychology, including abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology and social psychology.

One way to view these fields is to separate them into two types: applied vs. experimental psychology. These groups describe virtually any type of work in psychology.

The following sections explore what experimental psychology is and some examples of what it covers.

Example Of Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Dissonance Experiment: Always Believe In What You Do – Psychology Series | Academy 4 S…

Say for instance you want to buy a phone. This is one of the situations where you have to make a judgment. And that judgment is with regards to the question Which phone should you buy?

Well, we are more likely to buy a brand and the model of a phone that you are familiar with. Thus, understanding cognitive psychology can help us to know what goes on in our daily lives.

Furthermore, we may have a better understanding of where we are heading if we have an understanding of where we came from.

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Attention Is Like A Spotlight

We actually have two sets of eyes one set real and one virtual, cognitive psychology finds.

We have the real eyes moving around in their sockets, but we also have virtual eyes looking around our field of vision, choosing what we pay attention to.

People are using their virtual eyes all the time: for example, when they watch each other using their peripheral vision.

You dont need to look directly at an attractive stranger to eye them up, you can look out of the corner of your eye.

Cognitive psychologists have called this the spotlight of attention and studies have actually measured its movement.

It means we can notice things in the fraction of a second before our eyes have a chance to reorient.

Mind Vs Brain Cognitive Psychology And Neuroscience

In one of my favourite paintings, The School of Athens, the most famous Greek philosophers are represented by Raphael. In the centre of the scene we can see Plato pointing to the ceiling and Aristotle pointing to the floor. Rationalism vs. Empiricism. Ideas or Facts. In psychology, Mind or Brain. In the eighteenth century, German philosopher Immanuel Kant dialectically synthesized the views of Descartes and Locke . Kant argued that both rationalism and empiricism have their place. Both must work together in the quest for truth. Most psychologists today accept Kants synthesis. In fact, research in Psychology follows the Scientific Method where ideas-hypothesis and facts-data play together. Now my question is, can we conciliate this Mind-Brain debate in the context of the current cognitive psychology?

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Cognitive Psychology Vs Cognitive Science

The line between cognitive psychology and cognitive science can be blurry. Cognitive psychology is better understood as predominantly concerned with applied psychology and the understanding of psychological phenomena. Cognitive psychologists are often heavily involved in running psychological experiments involving human participants, with the goal of gathering information related to how the human mind takes in, processes, and acts upon inputs received from the outside world. The information gained in this area is then often used in the applied field of clinical psychology.

Cognitive science is better understood as predominantly concerned with a much broader scope, with links to philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, and particularly with artificial intelligence. It could be said that cognitive science provides the corpus of information feeding the theories used by cognitive psychologists. Cognitive scientists’ research sometimes involves non-human subjects, allowing them to delve into areas which would come under ethical scrutiny if performed on human participants. I.e., they may do research implanting devices in the brains of rats to track the firing of neurons while the rat performs a particular task. Cognitive science is highly involved in the area of artificial intelligence and its application to the understanding of mental processes.

Measuring The Capacity Of The Visual Working Memory


Vision is an important sensory modality and there is extensive research on this area . Much of our daily experience is shaped by seeing a rich and complex world around us, and it is therefore an interesting question how much visual information we can store and process. Based on the development of a seminal experimental paradigm, Luck and Vogel have shown that visual working memory has a storage capacity of about four items. This finding is reported in many textbooks and has almost become a truism in cognitive psychology.

The establishment of the experimental paradigm by Luck and Vogel has led to much research and sparked an extensive discussion how the limitation to only four items might be explained . However, critically, several studies have shown that the situation is different when real-world objects are used as visual stimuli rather than simple abstract forms, revealing that the capacity of the visual working memory is higher for real-world objects . Such findings show that the discourse about the mechanisms behind the limitations of the visual working memory is mostly about an artificial phenomenon which has no counterpart in realitythe perfect example of a hyperreality.

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Machine Behavior As Xai

The researchers who explain AI behavior have historically been the same researchers who invent, develop, and train AI. A large sector of XAI research aims to generate explanations through more interpretable architectures, or by introducing a second AI that examines another AIs decision and learns to generate explanations for it. In other words, a popular approach to explainability in AI is more AI. Some XAI researchers are beginning to explore alternate paths to explanation, as evidenced by recent calls for the primacy of empirical study.

What cognitive psychologists have discovered is that when you ask a human youre not really getting at the decision process. They make a decision first and then you ask and then they generate an explanation and it may not be the true explanation. So we might end up being in the same place with machine learning systems where we retrain one system to get an answer and then we train another system to say given the input of this first system now its your job to generate an explanation. We certainly have other ways to probe. Because we have the system available to us we could say well what if the input was a little bit differentwould the output be different or would it be the same? So in that sense theres lots of things that we can probe. And I think having explanations will be good. We need better approaches to thatit should be its own field of study.

Experimental Psychologist: Jobs & Job Description

On an everyday basis, most experimental psychologists allocate a large portion of their day to working with the subjects of their analysis, explaining the parameters of the study, carrying out experiments, and debriefing subjects afterward.

In addition to conducting the tests, experimental psychologists also have to design them, collect the materials, garner support from students or colleagues, analyze the results, and compose scholarly papers for publication in peer review journals. Many also spend time writing grants to secure funding for future experimentation. Note that those who make a valid argument for research in the interests of public safety or positive mental health outcomes are more likely to receive funding.

With such a diverse range of duties, experimental psychologists need a wide variety of skills, personality traits, and knowledge types, including:

  • Thorough grasp of the scientific process
  • Comprehension of psychological theories and practices
  • Excellent observational, problem-solving, and communication skills
  • Ability to perform complex analysis
  • Patience and compassion for subjects
  • Ability to generate funding and support
  • Excellent sense of ethics
  • Passion for exploring theoretical questions

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Why Do People With Mental Illness Have Cognitive Problems

As per research, mental illnesses cause much of the cognitive problems in individuals. For a long period of time, people considered symptoms like lack of motivation, unstable mood, psychosis and other symptoms to be primary in nature. However, they believed that the cognitive problems were secondary in nature.

But, you must understand that it is not the case. Cognitive Problems or dysfunction is a primary symptom of schizophrenia and some other affective disorders.

Thus, it is because of this reason that cognitive problems are quite evident even when the other symptoms are controlled.

In other words, the cognitive problems are quite evident even when an individual is not psychotic or has not experienced an affective episode.

Besides this, the research says that the specific parts of the brain are responsible for particular cognitive skills. However, such parts of the brain do not function normally in case of people suffering from schizophrenia and other affective disorders.

Thus, all of this showcases that the mental illness has an impact on the functioning of the brain. This in turn leads to cognitive problems. However, its is also true that other factors also impact the cognitive functioning of an individual.

Accordingly, many people are able to pay more attention, think better, and remember things when they are not under the influence of emotional stress. Likewise, people who got the opportunity to learn adaptive cognitive skills were able to think and remember better.

What Does An Experimental Psychologist Do

An introduction to cognitive psychology (free online course)

An experimental psychologist is usually found in universities, businesses, and even the government to conduct studies on related to factors mentioned above, among others. Apart from psychological processes, they also look into other ideas such as leadership, trust, and personality. Among the many experimental psychologists include Wilhelm Wundt, Charles Bell, and Ernst Heinrich Weber, the last of which is credited as one of the founders of experimental psychology.

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Sample Careers In Applied Psychology


Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments. They use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors. Many kinds of psychologists work within applied psychology. For instance, school psychologists apply psychological principles and techniques to education disorders and developmental disorders.

Research may still be an aspect of the role. Psychologists often gather information and perform research, and whether they are considered as being within applied or experimental psychology will depend on the primary focus of their work.

One example is the field of industrial-organizational psychology, which focuses on the workplace, using psychological principles, and research methods to solve problems and improve the quality of work life. Psychologists in this field could be considered on the side of applied or experimental psychology depending on the extent of any research they perform. One industrial-organizational psychologist may work with business on applying best practices into the workplace while another may be actually conducting that research.

Psychologists typically need a doctoral degree, according to the BLS. The median annual wage for psychologists is $79,010, and employment is projected to grow 14% through 2026.

Mental Health Counselors

Often, mental health counselors perform the following tasks:

Depression And Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown as an effective treatment for clinical depression. The American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines indicated that, among psychotherapeutic approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy had the best-documented efficacy for treatment of major depressive disorder.

A 2001 meta-analysis comparing CBT and psychodynamic psychotherapy suggested the approaches were equally effective in the short term for depression.In contrast, a 2013 meta-analyses suggested that CBT, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy outperformed psychodynamic psychotherapy and behavioral activation in the treatment of depression.

According to a 2004 review by INSERM of three methods, cognitive behavioral therapy was either proven or presumed to be an effective therapy on several mental disorders. This included depression, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress, and other anxiety disorders.

CBT has been shown to be effective in the treatment of adults with anxiety disorders.

A systematic review of CBT in depression and anxiety disorders concluded that “CBT delivered in primary care, especially including computer- or Internet-based self-help programs, is potentially more effective than usual care and could be delivered effectively by primary care therapists.”

Some meta-analyses find CBT more effective than psychodynamic therapy and equal to other therapies in treating anxiety and depression.

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Behavior And Cognitive Therapies Merge Third Wave Cbt

Although the early behavioral approaches were successful in many of the neurotic disorders, they had little success in treating depression. Behaviorism was also losing in popularity due to the cognitive revolution. The therapeutic approaches of Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck gained popularity among behavior therapists, despite the earlier behaviorist rejection of mentalistic concepts like thoughts and cognitions. Both of these systems included behavioral elements and interventions, with the primary focus being on problems in the present.

In initial studies, cognitive therapy was often contrasted with behavioral treatments to see which was most effective. During the 1980s and 1990s, cognitive and behavioral techniques were merged into cognitive behavioral therapy. Pivotal to this merging was the successful development of treatments for panic disorder by David M. Clark in the UK and David H. Barlow in the US.

Over time, cognitive behavior therapy came to be known not only as a therapy, but as an umbrella term for all cognitive-based psychotherapies. These therapies include, but are not limited to, rational emotive behavior therapy , cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, metacognitive therapy, metacognitive training, reality therapy/choice theory, cognitive processing therapy, EMDR, and multimodal therapy. All of these therapies are a blending of cognitive- and behavior-based elements.

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