What Is Cognitive Psychology and How Does It Affect You?

What Is Cognitive Psychology and How Does It Affect You?

Cognitive psychology involves studying how people think and process information, which allows psychologists to better help their patients deal with psychological problems. It was first studied by Atkinson and Shiffrin, who defined cognition as the process by which sensory input is transformed, reduced, and processed.


Throughout your life, you may encounter situations in which you must make a decision. This process can involve deciding between two options or questions and searching for a reason to justify your decision. Cognitive psychology has provided us with a variety of models to explain this process.

The sequential sampling model is one example. This model samples options until enough evidence favors a particular option. The sequential sampling model reflects the importance of the decision. For example, trivial decisions require little consideration of alternatives, while important ones require prolonged deliberation. The sequential sampling model has been used in decision-making research for over a century and is still a relevant tool.

Another model emphasizes capacity limitation. This theory proposes that a person can choose the most preferred option by weighing a number of different factors. This is also called the “take-the-best” model. In this model, a person will sequentially search information and stop when he or she finds a cue to choose the preferred alternative. It has also been considered psychologically plausible, as it adheres to the serial nature of conscious thought.

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