Historical and cultural conditions

You need to be familiar with at least TWO historical events or cultural influences that contributed to the development of (including developments within) the cognitive perspective.
Begin with the class notes. It is up to you to develop your notes further on your specific choice.



Task 1
(class text) Whetham, P. et. al. Psychology - pages 57 - 59
Take notes. Key headings could include:
  • Definitions of cognition
  • Specific factors that affected the development of the cognitive perspective (such as WWII) and obviously, the IMPACT, of that factor

Task 2
The cognitive revolution: a historical perspective by George A. Miller
Read this document.

Now complete the following questions:
  1. What are 2 sentences from the document that you feel are particularly significant to our focus on the impact of historical and cultural conditions and why?
  2. What are 2 phrases from the document that you feel are particularly significant to our focus on the impact of historical and cultural conditions and why?
  3. What are 2 words from the document that you feel are particularly significant to our focus on the impact of historical and cultural conditions and why?

In each case, you need to note down the sections you have chosen, and add notes in point form about your reasons for choosing them.
Be prepared to discuss these in class.

The information on historical and cultural conditions provided below is adapted from the following source:
Hepper, Sue, IB Psychology Paper 1: Higher & Standard level International Baccalaurete Revision Guide)

A Starting Point

Begin with Wundt and James - pioneers of early cognitive psychology
  1. What were their contributions?

World War II

  1. In what way did cognitive psychology contribute to the war effort?
  2. In what ways did WWII fuel investigations in the area of cognitive psychology?
  3. What developments took place in this area of research after the war?

Consider the following:
  • radar
  • Broadbent (1958)
  • Triesman (1964)
  • Baddeley (1974)

The Dartmouth Conference (1956) - use of the computer model

  1. What impact did this conference have in terms of fueling the learning perspective?

Consider the following:
  • Noel Chomsky and language acquisition
  • Miller (see 'Readings' at the top of this page) and his magic number 7
  • Newall & Simon's computational model
  • Artificial Intelligence

Brain Scanning technology - new developments

  • History of x-ray
  • development of new techniques through computerised technology (CAT, PET, MRI) - assessing brain activity

  • development of cognitive science -
  • combined artificial intelligence with computer simulation
  • focus on building simulation models of cognitive and neurological processes so as to look at how humans process information

Connection between cognitive and learning perspective

Limitations of radical behavorism - growing challenges

Findings of radical behaviorists (Skinner, Watson) could not account for more complex behaviors
  • Tolman
  • Kohler

Discoveries regarding role of language

  • Vygotsky (1962) - focus on role of language in influencing development of thought
  • Chomsky and language acquisition (1965) - introduction of nativist view (innate predisposition for humans to develop language)
Findings fueled further investigation into the link between internal and external (observable, verbal behavior) processes

Models of cognitive development

  • Piaget (191, 1941) - continuous model of cognitive development linked with maturational development
  • Ochanine (1981)
Findings went beyond the reductionist model of stimulus-response patterns of behavior.
Indicated influence of mental processes that could not be directly observed.

Social cognitive theorists

(linking of cognitive and learning principles via social cognition)
S-O-R approach (stimlus - organism- response)
Asch (1952)
Bandura (1963)
Milgram (1963)
Zimbardo (1973)

Findings contributed in the following ways:
  • provided new information about the role of perception (and interpretation)
  • demonstrated correlation between internal and external processes
  • argument for the significance of self-determinism (free will) - new view of the individual as one who actively interprets, constructs and responds to his/her environment

Sunwoo's presentation on historical and cultural influence on cognition