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Cognitive Psychology: Definition and My Understanding

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Psychology is the study that mostly focuses on the mind and the behavior. In this field, there are five major types of perspectives. These perspectives answer the fundamental questions of life regarding how we think, feel and act the way we do. The one that interest me the most is the cognitive perspective. By definition, this is a scientific study of the mind as an information processor as it relates to mental functions such as the use of language, perception, attention, long term and short-term memory usage, problem solving, and how we think. Like a computer, the mind can process information, store data, and produce the necessary outputs all guided by a set of predisposed instructions. According to Mcleod (2013) this had led cognitive psychologists to explain that memory comprises of three stages: encoding (where information is received and attended to), storage (where the information is retained) and retrieval (where the information is recalled)”. Essentially, it is important to look at the mental processes of an organism to have a complete understanding of how it may affect behaviour. The father of this amazing branch of psychology is said to be Ulric Neisser.

The cognitive perspective is very fascinating. I find it interesting because my sister was a Biology major, and she told me about how neurons and the vast neural networks that make up our central nervous system detect stimuli from receptors, interpret it, and send electrochemical messages to our extremities. Some of these actions are guided by memory, which is the mind’s ability to learn from previous responses to a stimuli; for example, when someone pokes us at the side of our rib our response is to twitch and if this action is done continuously over a long period of time, our mind already knows from memory that when that person puts up their finger we are to twitch. This phenomenon can be termed as classical conditioning. In some ways, the cognitive perspective can work hand in hand with behaviourism.

The cognitive perspective would be useful in my career choice, which is in the business field. This area of study is and requires me to recollect a vast number of concepts and methods to effectively complete my job. By increasing my cognitive skills in this field, I will be able to improve my memory of these concepts and methods, and increase my problem-solving skills in analysing data for the task that I will need to carry out. For example, dealing with a lot of numbers would require me to be focus and have an excellent memory. Most of the skill needed for this specific field would be gained throughout my studies, where it would be stored as memory to be recalled when I need it. As mentioned previously, the mind can operate based on memory and as “Tolman suggested that learning was based on the relationships which form amongst stimuli” (McLeod, 2015). By portraying cognitive skills, I will be not only be able to perform well, but I will gain recognition for my work ethics along with self-fulfilment and satisfaction in knowing that I have achieved my goals.

The cognitive perspective might generally improve my life by helping me with my memory skills. According to Karen Cherry (2019), psychologist have discovered that while our short-term memory is quite brief and can only last a few seconds, it can be boosted with rehearsal techniques and those same data can be moved to long term memory. This area will work as an enhancement especially when writing response journals in my English class. Sometimes I would be reading articles and in a split of a second I’d forget what I just read, so I guess rehearsal I key. In order for me to ace my responses, I’d have to first read, re-read, think, perceive, retrieve and have a solid focus on what I’m doing in order to begin my writing. Thus, the cognitive approach will work alongside as a growth in my life.

Psychology involves a number of different perspectives. Whether we recognize it or not, we use them all in our daily lives, depending on the situation at hand. I’ve always been more of a “thought process” type of person which is why this one stood out to me more. The cognitive perspective can be useful in all aspects of our lives, including schooling, career choice and many more. This aspect was the one that stood out to me, which one’s yours?


  1. McLeod, S. A. (2013). Psychology perspectives. Retrieved from
  2. McLeod, S. A. (2015). Cognitive psychology. Retrieved from            

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