's Guide to the TOEFL® Test Podcast

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Monday, April 03, 2006

TOEFL® Podcast #21

Cognitive Psychology Lecture

Audio Index:
Slow dialog: 1:00
Explanation: 3:50
Fast dialog: 16:30
Questions: 18:17

We are going to spend this week talking about cognitive psychology. Like the other theories of psychology we’ve covered so far, cognitive psychology studies the mental processes that drive behavior. This behavior includes thinking, reasoning, decision making, and even emotion and motivation.

In 1967, a psychologist by the name of Ulric Neisser published a book called Cognitive Psychology. In it, he talked about how our minds—our cognition, our thinking—are part of everything a human being might possibly do. In short, according to Neisser’s definition, every psychological phenomenon is a cognitive phenomenon.

Cognitive psychology is significantly different from other schools of thought in the field of psychology in two important ways. Uh, first, cognitive psychologists accept and make use of the scientific method. Like other areas of science, cognitive psychologists believe that phenomenon can be observed, hypotheses can be formed about them, and predictions can be made using experiments. Cognitive psychologists don’t believe that introspection is a valid method of scientific study, such as the methods used in Freudian psychology.

A second key way that cognitive science differs from previous psychological approaches is that it acknowledges the existence of internal mental states such as beliefs, desires, and motivations. This is in stark contrast to the view taken by behaviorist psychology.

We’re out of time for today. Be sure to read Chapter 4 in your textbook and come to class Friday ready to discuss it. That’s all for today.