Saturday, November 29, 2014


The cognitive revolution brought back the mind into experimental psychology, after behaviorism had defined it as the science of behavior.

"The cognitive revolution is sometimes described as a paradigm shift in psychology, but it's more accurately described as a synthesis of research in various fields centering around cognitive psychology which came to be called the cognitive sciences (or simply cognitive science). This involves research relevant to the study of the mind in neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, and anthropology."

"In the mid-20th century, psychology was no longer “the science of mental life” (as William James had defined it), but “the science of behavior.” Mentalistic concepts —thoughts, memories, goals, emotions — had been banned as unscientific, replaced by associations between stimuli and responses.

But new ideas about computation, feedback, information, and communication were in the air, and psychologists realized they had enormous potential for a science of mind. Four Harvard scholars used them to launch the “cognitive revolution.”

"I shall begin my case history by telling you about some experiments that tested how accurately people can assign numbers to the magnitudes of various aspects of a stimulus. In the traditional language of psychology these would be called experiments in absolute judgment. Historical accident, however, has decreed that they should have another name. We now call them experiments on the capacity of people to transmit information. Since these experiments would not have been done without the appearance of information theory on the psychological scene, and since the results are analyzed in terms of the concepts of information theory, I shall have to preface my discussion with a few remarks about this theory."