Cognitive Psychology

Seminar 5 - Discussion Question 2 by Jami Welker

Historical Context of Cognitive Psychology

The rise of cognitive psychology came about in the 1950’s as a consequence of psychology’s discontentment with behaviorism’s focus on the outward of human behavior rather than the inward of mental functioning (McLeod, 2015). Improved methods for experimentation encouraged psychologists to look at internal processes instead of having to be content with observing outward behavior (McLeod, 2015). Computers began their influence on humanity at this time as they provided psychologists with a model for describing how people process information (think) (McLeod, 2015). The computer analogy describes how humans process information by coding, storing, using, and retrieving the information mentally (McLeod, 2015). Technology not only influenced psychology’s ability to study cognition but also gave it a way to describe it.


McLeod, S. (2015). Cognitive psychology. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from

Cognitive and Behavioral Theories Applied

A recent study on a combined cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression shows that these two approaches to psychology can be used together to develop effective therapy techniques. A group course known to be successful in minimizing symptoms of depression in white adolescents was adapted to be culturally appropriate for adolescents on an American Indian reservation who were suffering from depression (Listug-Lunde, Vogeltanz-Holm, & Collins, 2013). This course teaches participants how to limit negative thoughts and feelings by increasing their participation in positive activities and practicing learned coping skills (Listug-Lunde, Vogeltanz-Holm, & Collins, 2013). This article highlights how cognitive-behavioral psychology utilizes an understanding of how depression works in the brain to help people who suffer from depression make changes in behavior to overcome their symptoms.


Listug-Lunde, L., Vogeltanz-Holm, N., & Collins, J. (2013). A cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression in rural American Indian middle school students. American Indian and Alaskan Native Mental Health Research: The Journal of the National Center, 20(1), 16-34.