Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that aims to study the internal mental processes of a person. These mental processes include problem solving, memory and language.
This school of thought has its foundation in the Gestalt psychology of the likes of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka and Jean Piaget. In fact, Piaget was responsible for giving the theory of stages of child cognitive development.
Cognitive psychology believes that solutions for problems occur in the form of algorithms -- rules are not understood but can provide a solution -- or heuristics -- rules that are understood but need not necessary provide a solution.
This school of thought developed into a separate area of psychology in the late 1950s and early 1960s after Noam Chomsky did a critical review of B.F. Skinner's book Verbal Behavior. This was a significant point in development of cognitive psychology. Chomsky contended that Skinner's stimulus-response theory did not explain creativity and speed of language learning. Thereafter, Chomsky published a series of book promoting rationalism, the theory that believes humans are born in built-in system of organization and they are not blank slate.
Chomsky's theory of rationalism gave impetus to psychology and the theory that human mind is made of small sections and each section is specialized for a particular cognitive process. This led to cognitive theory building up its reputation and dominance in the field of psychology
Another psychologist that had a profound impact on cognitive psychology was Donald Eric Broadbent. It was Broadbent's research that helped to bridge the gap between pre-World War II approach of applied psychology and the development that took place during the war. And this missing link became known as cognitive psychology in the late 1960s.
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