CT scans and other brain images have been used in cognitive psychology, as well. Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of cognition. Cognition refers to mental processes, such as reasoning and remembering. Early structuralists and functionalists, with their interest in mental processes, influenced the development of cognitive psychology. Today, some cognitive psychologists use computers as a model for how the human mind works. This area of study focuses on topics such as memory formation and information processing and uses a variety of methods. For example:
In a study of memory, people might be presented with a list of words and later asked to recall as many as possible. Changing the conditions under which the words are presented shows how different conditions affect memory.
In a study of information processing, people might be asked to perform a task like the one described in Figure 6. This particular task shows how people pay attention to different types of information.
Stroop test. Names of different colors are printed in five rows and four columns. The nameof the color does not match thr font color.
FIGURE 6. Quickly try to name the color of each word, going from left to right and top to bottom. What happens when you get to words that are printed in the “wrong” color (for example, the word green printed in red)? Did you slow down? Like most people, you probably had a hard time paying attention only to the colors and not to the meanings of the words. Photo by Khayne, Public Domain.
Behavioral psychology is the scientific study of behavior. It was influenced by the experimental approach of the early functionalists. Basic concepts in behavioral psychology include stimulus and response. A stimulus (plural, stimuli) is anything that triggers a behavior. The behavior that results from a stimulus is called a response. Researchers in behavioral psychology often address practical questions, such as:
What are the best ways to teach children that are differently abled?
What are the most appropriate methods for training people in the military?
What are the most effective ways to help people change problem behaviors?