Scientific Thinking

Rachel Engelsman

How Scientific Thinking Influenced the Development of Cognitve Psychology

Schemata development

Jean Piaget outlined schemata development from birth to adult hood in stages called the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, concrete operations stage, and the formal operations stage. He believed the schemata contains the cognitive structure that will produce the behavior for that particular environment.


In 1949 Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver began the information theory which explains how information transforms when it enters, operates and leaves cyber systems. This eventually lead to the development of artificial intelligence which sets out to investigate how machines can replicate the cognitive thinking of a human. Connectionism was an approach to artificail intelligence that became a promising area in cognitive science which explains the funtionality between neurons when connections increase or decrease.

Language and Information

in 1959 Noam Chomsky challenged traditional learning theories based off principles of associations and argued that the brain is programmed to generate language and that it is all an inherited, rule governed system. George Miller found through research that people can only think seven different things at a time which include numbers, letter and words. Jerome Bruner emphasized the concept of learning which stressed the utilization of cognitive strategies in learning.

Gestalt Influences

Solomon Asch's work on impression formation and person perception proved perceptual discrimination can occur by providing social pressures to guide their thinking towards it and can be looked to as the start of social cognition. Fritz Heider introduced a concept called attribution to Gestalt considerations of perceptions which is how we interpret and explain human behaviors.


Hergenhahn, B. R., & Henley, T. B. (2014). An introduction to the history of psychology (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth-Cengage.