Critically evaluate the cognitive approach to the study of psychological phenomena. 10 marks. CSE 2013

Model answer outline:

Cognitive perspective offers a scientific explanation for the behaviour and mental processes that is more precise than traditional mind body approach which just assumed without showing any mechanisms of influence. The cognitive perspective has decoded the exact mechanisms how cognition influence behaviour. It assumes:

  • Human beings are rational and cognitively active beings. We often think or process sensory inputs before responding. S-O-R paradigm… ( Ulric Neisser)
  • Cognitive perspective examines the impacts of beliefs and knowledge on thinking which in turn impacts the way feel and behave.

The advent of computer and development in the neuroscience offers evidences for these assumptions. Moreover, cognitive- behavioural therapy in psychology works on this premise and has yielded pridictive results( Beck, Ellis ).

We however know that cognition is not the only determinant of behaviour. There are other determinants like gene, unconscious factors , cultural values etc which sometimes dominate over thinking and reasoning. We know aggressive behaviour is socially bad but we can’t help sometimes.Moreover ,children and animals can not be adequately studied through this approach.

We therefore can conclude that cognitive perspective like other perspectives ,add to our understanding of behaviour .