Cognitive Psychology: An Overview for Cognitive Scientists

Cognitive Psychology: An Overview for Cognitive Scientists

Cognitive Psychology: An Overview for Cognitive Scientists

Cognitive Psychology: An Overview for Cognitive Scientists

Synopsis

This text presents the basic concepts of modern cognitive psychology in a succinct and accessible manner. Empirical results, theoretical developments, and current issues are woven around basic concepts to produce coherent accounts of research areas. Barsalou's primary goal is to equip readers with a conceptual vocabulary that acquaints them with the general approach of cognitive psychology and allows them to follow more technical discussions elsewhere. In meeting this goal, he discusses the traditional work central to modern thinking and reviews current work relevant to cognitive science. Besides focusing on research and theory in cognitive psychology, Barsalou also addresses its fundamental assumptions. Because the cognitive approach to psychology is somewhat subtle, often misunderstood, and sometimes controversial, it is essential for a text on cognitive psychology to address the assumptions that underlie it. Therefore, three of the eleven chapters address the "meta- assumptions" that govern research and theory in cognitive psychology. These meta-chapters provide a deeper understanding of the content areas and a clearer vision of what cognitive psychologists are trying to accomplish. The remaining eight "content" chapters cover the central topics in cognitive psychology. This book will be of value to a variety of audiences. Ideal for researchers in computer science, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, and neuroscience who wish to acquaint themselves with cognitive psychology, it may also be used as a text for courses in cognitive science and cognitive psychology. Lay readers who wish to learn about the cognitive approach to scientific psychology will also find the volume useful.

Excerpt

This book presents the basic concepts of modern cognitive psychology in a succinct and accessible manner. Rather than listing experiments and models exhaustively for each significant area of research, I have tried instead to produce a coherent overview of its central constructs. My primary goal is to equip readers with a conceptual vocabulary that will acquaint them with the general approach of cognitive psychology and allow them to follow discussions of it elsewhere. In presenting basic constructs, I cover a wide variety of experiments, theories, and issues. Although my coverage of an area is never exhaustive, I include specific examples of experiments and theories that provide a concrete sense of relevant research. I address not only current work relevant to cognitive science but also traditional work central to modern thinking. Given the constraints of an overview, I have, of necessity, failed to acknowledge much quality work of importance. Interested readers can find this work through the extensive references provided.

I have written this book for several audiences. First, it is for researchers in the other disciplines, besides psychology, that constitute the cognitive sciences, including computer science, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, neuroscience, and so forth. I assume that many of these readers wish to acquaint themselves with cognitive psychology but are not prepared to invest extensive time in reviewing research literatures. Readers who subsequently wish to explore cognitive psychology further will find that the basic concepts developed here lay the groundwork for more detailed and technical presen-

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