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Cognitive perspective- the school of psychology that examines internal mental processes, such as creativity, perception, thinking, problem solving, memory, and language. Cognitive psychologists are interested in how a person understands, diagnoses, and solves a problem, concerning themselves with the mental processes that mediate between stimulus and response. In recent years cognitive psychology has become associated with computer information processing and artificial intelligence, studying parallels in the ways that both brain and computer receive, process, store, and retrieve information.8

This veiw of abnormal behavior focuses on the mental process. The cognitive perspective studies how people percieve, remember, reason, decide, and solve problems to find the cause of mental illnesses. Modern cognitivism is not based on introspection like past versions. Today's study of cognition is based on two assumptions: 1) what organisms are going to do can only be found by studying their mental process, and 2) It is possible to objectively study the mental processes by foucusing on specific behaviors and interpreting the underlying mental processes. From its beginings in 1879 to today, many schools of cognitive study have been developed. Some of the older schools include structuralism, functionalism, gestalt psychology, and humanistic psychology.

This school of psychology believes that the mind can be studied just as one would study fire or blood. Created by Wilhelm Wundt, this school uses a method of introspection to discover the basic elements of thought. Structuralism breaks down thought into sensations, feelings, and images. These elements combine to form experience.

Created by William James, this school of psychology focuses on past experience and behavior. He adressed how experience permits people to function better in our environment. This school emphasizes the uses and functions of the mind rather than the elements of experience.

Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt psychologists believe that you can't explain human perception in terms of basic units. This school is based on the idea that humans tend to organize thier ideas and thoughts into patterns. A major idea of Gestalt psychology is insight. Insight is the grouping of mentally represented elements of a problem to where we think we can reach a goal. Once the correct grouping has been found everything seems to fit into place. The school emphasizes human tendancy to organize perceptions into wholes.

Humanistic Psychology
Humanistic psychology emphasizes the importance of human conciousness, self-awareness, and the capacity to make choices. Humaists believe that we create our way of responding to the world as we go through life. This school places a lot of importance on conciousness and self-awareness.

Article 1999 John Garvey
HTML 1999 Katrina Spoor