The mind is something we use constantly, yet we never give much thought to how it works. One way psychologist try to understand these internal processes is called Cognitive Psychology. This is the scientific study of the mind and its mental processes. Simply put it involves knowing, remembering, understanding, communicating and learning. But our minds are extremely complex and sometimes we can get things wrong! Here is a funny and informative crash course video in what exactly Cognitive Psychology is all about and how sometimes cognition is not always logical:
Courtesy of YouTube
After watching that video what do you think about your concepts for certain things and prototypes? Do you thing they limit your ideas of the world? Some food for thought! Another interesting cognitive process is heuristics. This simple strategy of short-cuts our brain takes to help navigate the thousands mental processes throughout our day-to-day lives. Notice the next time you go shopping how you go straight to certain aisles without much thought and how you didn’t even need to really give it much thought.
One way psychologist studied cognition was through behavioral approach. Gias et al. (2007) studied the effects of sleep on memory consolidation. They found those who went to sleep straight after learning a particular piece of information remembered it better then those who had not slept until a couple of hours later. This is because sleep helps us to store memories in our hippocampus, the area of the brain strongly linked to memory.
A great excuse next time you fall asleep in class!
Cognitive Psychology is a relatively new area of research in Psychology but there are lots of exciting new discoveries being made. If you want learn more about how we process information or how we create habits, check out this link to Simple Psychology for more fascinating facts.