Course: Postgraduate Certificate - Tertiary Level Teaching
Module: How Students Learn - A Review of Some of the Main Theories
Page: 3e - Cognitive Psychology

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Cognitive psychology

The early behavioural psychologists treated the human mind as a 'black box', being concerned only with the relationship between the input to the system (the stimulus) and the output from the system (the response). None of the processes that occurred between the stimulus and the response were considered to be the legitimate concern of psychology, since they could not be directly observed. Dissatisfaction with this strict view, together with an increasing realisation that internal higher-order mental processes are an important part of psychology, has since led to the development of cognitive psychology. This is concerned with what actually happens within the mind/brain system when we think, reason, remember, develop language skills, etc, as well as with how we process information received from the outside world. Cognitive psychology is currently having an increasing influence on educational thinking, especially through the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence and the design of expert systems.

Intelligence. A concept which does not fit neatly into any of the above perspectives of psychology but which has profound implications for educational practice is the idea of intelligence, whereby verbal, numerical, reasoning and spatial skills can be measured to give a quotient of a person's ability. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is supposedly normally distributed amongst the population, and is the concept that ostensibly justifies selection at both secondary school and university level.



Clich here for exercise 5

Once you have completed exercise 5, proceed with the module.

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