This book covers key movements that helped to shape psychology – from the early philosophical debate between rationalism and empiricism or realists and antirealists through to the emergence of psychology as a science and the ongoing debates about ‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’ and what a science of psychology should be. Often nuanced and complex, the author examines major conceptual issues in the history of psychology that continue to be debated and influence public policy and lay understanding. The latter stages of the book explore notions of individuality, hereditarianism, critical psychology, and feminist perspectives. While deeply rooted in human history, it is made clear that psychology, how it is conceived and practiced, has a bearing on our understanding of what it is to be human. Accessible, objective and above all comprehensive, this book will help students locate psychology in the wider field of science and understand the forces that continue to shape and define it.

The Cognitive Revolution

The Cognitive Revolution

Learning Objective

In this chapter you will learn about the reasons why cognition, which was basic to early interests in scientific psychology, underwent repression and the circumstances which led to its reinstatement as a valid concern.

  • The stultifying influence of the behaviorists will be considered along with the factors that led to the ultimate transcendence of the anti-mentalism and radical objectivism that came to prevail.
  • The impact of communications engineering and computers and the subsequent mechanistic modeling of mind will be discussed along with the work in artificial intelligence.
  • Questions about whether humans can rightly be equated with computers will be considered, and we will end with a consideration of the problem of individualism in cognitive psychology.

Framing Questions

  • Did behavioristic psychology represent an advance ...
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