Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology


Cognitive processes enable us to experience the world around us: to recognise a friendly face in a crowd, to communicate our passions, to recall memories from the past. When these processes stop working, it can turn friends into strangers, render speech impossible, and make history a confusion of truth and lies. Cognitive Psychology, Second Edition unravels these complex ideas, introducing the concepts behind them and looking at how techniques, such as neuroimaging, can provide answers to questions that may at first seem unanswerable. The chapters - covering a broad range of topics, including attention, perception, and neuropsychiatry - are written to inspire students, and come complete with helpful resources, including in-chapter summaries to consolidate learning, 'Activity' boxes to help students engage in the content, and 'Research study' boxes to encourage an awareness of scientific method. With chapters written by experts in their fields and edited by professors with a wealth of experience in teaching and learning, Cognitive Psychology, Second Edition is the ideal course companion for all psychology students. The Online Resource Centre to accompany Cognitive Psychology, Second Edition includes: For lecturers: DT Figures from the book available to download. DT A text bank of multiple choice questions. DT Chapters from the Methods Companion to the first edition. For students: DT Software simulations.


This is a new edition of a book originally published by Oxford University Press in conjunction with the Open University to serve as the core text for a Level 3 Open University course in cognitive psychology. The new edition is published solely by Oxford University Press and, while retaining what we consider to be the best features of the original, differs considerably from its predecessor. There are a number of aspects of the design of this text that we hope will serve students learning about cognitive psychology and educators teaching the subject.

Book structure

The chapters in this book are organized in six parts. The first four parts focus on broad and well-established topic areas within cognitive psychology, such as perceptual processes, language, memory, and thinking and reasoning. All these chapters have been updated, and in some cases considerably revised, since the first edition. The fifth part is entirely new. It comprises three chapters reflecting the increasing and exciting interplay between cognitive psychology and the cognitive neurosciences. The sixth part comprises five updated and revised chapters that consider a range of challenges, themes, and issues – topics that have been thought to present challenges to the cognitive approach, such as emotion and consciousness; themes such as cognitive modelling and modularity; and issues such as the relation of cognition to biology.

The first chapter is not located in one of these parts. It attempts to give a historical and conceptual introduction to cognitive psychology, laying out the foundations of the subject and raising some of the important themes and issues that are revisited in later chapters. Some of these themes are also developed in the introductions to each of the subsequent parts; we recommend that students read these introductions prior to reading their associated parts, and re-read them afterwards.

Chapter structure

Each chapter has been structured according to certain conventions.

An emboldened term signifies the introduction of a key concept or term that is either explicitly or implicitly defined in the surrounding text and/or explained in the glossary at the end of the book. The locations of these defined terms are also flagged in bold in the index.

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