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Program Studi Psikologi

SEJARAH SINGKAT
1. The Origins of Cognitive Psychology Human thought processes have intrigued philosophers and other theorists for more than 2.000 years. For example, the Greed philosopher Aristotle proposed laws for learning and memory and emphasized the importance of mental imagery (Mayer, 1983). As Hearnshaw (1987) notes, cognitive psychology is both the oldest and the newest component in the history of psychology. However, the year 1879 is usually celebrated as the birthday of scientific psychology because it was then that Wilhelm Wundt (pronounced Voont) opened his laboratory in a small lecture room in Leipzig, Germany. Thus psychology emerged as a new discipline that was separate from philosophy and physiology. Within several years, students flocked from around the world to study with Wundt, who eventually sponsored 186 PhD dissertation in psychology (Hearst, 1979). Wundt proposed that psychology should study conscious experience, using introspection. Instrospection, in this case, meant trained observers attending carefully to their own sensations and reporting them as objectively as possible (Gardner, 1985; Posner, 1986). These observers were encouraged to describe the sensations they felt, rather than the stimulus that produced the sensations. They were also instructed to report thoughts and images without attempting to give them meaning. As Gardner (1985), stresses, Wundt worked continuously for 50 years to promote the introspective technique through journals and conferences. His work emphasized careful training of observers, the use of relevant controls, and the replication of experiments. These techniques have been incorporated in 20th century research on cognitive processes. For example, most of the research papers discussed in this book include several replications, or experiments in which a phenomenon is tested under different conditions. In many ways, Wundts careful, rigorous methods were similar to present-day cognitive research. Wundt specifically wrote, however that higher mental processes such as thinking, language, and problem solving could not be appropriately investigated with the instrospective technique. Not all of Wundts colleagues adopted the instrospective technique, however. Hermann Ebbinghaus (1913), for example, devised his own methods for studying human memory. He constructed more than 2.000 nonsense syllables (for example DAP) and tested his own ability to learn pairs of theses stimuli. Ebbinghaus examined a variety of factors that might influence performance, such as the amount of time between list presentations. He specifically chose nonsense syllables rather than meaningful material so that the stimuli would not have previous associations with past experiences. Ebbinghauss methods had a greater influence on cognitive psychology and on other areas of experimental psychology than did Wundts introspection technique. For
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example, later researchers were more likely to conduct experiments testing how selected variables influenced memory than to ask observes to report the sensations produced by a stimulus. However, Gardner (1985) remarks that Ebbinghauss methods encouraged decades of experiment psychologists to use meaningless material to study memory. Unfortunately, they avoid investigating the very different approach that humans adopt when they must recall meaningful material. Meanwhile, in the United States at the end of the 19th century, American psychologists were more influenced by William James, who is often called the dean of American psychology. James was not much impressed with Wundts introspection technique or Ebbinghauss nonsense words. Instead, he preferred a more informal approach, emphasizing the kinds of psychological questions encountered in daily lie. His book Principles of Psychology (1890) give detailed description about the stream of human experience and emphasized that the human mind is active and inquiring. Jamess most significant contributions to the field of cognitive psychology were his theories about memory. His proposals about two different kinds of memory and the distinction he drew between memory structure and memory process foreshadowed the important memory models proposed about 80 years later by Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968). In 1924, an American psychologist named John B. Watson, initiated a major new force in psychology known as behaviorism. Behaviorism ia an approach that relies only on objective, observable reactions. The behaviorism. Behaviorism is an approach that relies only on objective, observable reactions. The behaviorists believed that introspection was unscientific and that consciousness was far too vague to be investigated properly. In fact, their emphasis on observable behavior led them to reject any terms referring to mental events, such as image, idea, or thought. Behaviorists classified thinking as simply subvocal speech, and presumably the tiny movements of the tongue (an observable behavior) could be detected with the appropriate equipment. In other words, if you are thinking as you red this sentence, some early behaviorists would have said that you are really just talking to yourself, but so quietly that you cannot be heard. Behaviorists did not believe that is was necessary to propose a vague, invisible construct such as thought. Although it is unfortunate that behaviorists refused to study mental activity, behaviorism still contributed significantly to the methods of current cognitive psychology. Behaviorists stressed that concepts should be carefully and precisely defined. For example, performance might be defined as the number of trials that a rat required to complete it maze without error. Current cognitive psychology research also emphasized precise definitions. For example, a cognitive researcher must use a precise definition for memory. In addition, behaviorism stressed experimental control. As a result research psychologists primarily studied animals other than humans, because animals can be reared under far more carefully specified conditions than human.
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Clearly, then, behaviorists rarely studied the kinds of human higher mental processes that interest contemporary cognitive psychologists. Behaviorism thrived in the United States for several decades, but it had less influence on European psychology. An important new development in Europe at the turn of the century was Gestalt. Gestalt psychology is an approach that emphasizes that humans have basic tendencies to organize what they see and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Consider, for example, the first seven notes of the song Yankee Doodle. The melody that results is more than simply seven tones strung together, it seems to have unity and organization. It has a Gestalt, or overall quality that transcends the individual elements (Gardner,1985). The Gestalt psychologists strongly objected to the introspective technique of analyzing experiences into separate components, because they stressed that the whole experience is inherently organized. The Gestalt psychologists constructed a number of laws that explain, why certain components of a pattern seem to belong together. For example, the law of proximity or nearness states that items tend to be grouped together when they are physically close to each other. Gestalt psychologists also emphasized the importance of insight in problem solving. Initially, the parts of a problem seem unrelated to each other, but with a sudden flash of insight, the parts fit together into a solution. Most of the early research in problem solving was conducted by Gestalt psychologists; their work represents an important contribution to cognitive psychology. While the behaviorists were dominant in the United States and the Gestalt psychologists were influential on the Continent, a British psychologists named Frederick C. Bartlett was conducting his research on human memory. His important book Remembering : An Experimental and Social Study (Barlett, 1932), rejected the experimental methods of Ebbinghaus. Instead, Barlett used meaningful material such a length stories, and examined how peoples mental set influenced their later recall of the material. Bartletts work was largely ignored in the United States during the 1930s, because American psychologists were so enamored with the experimental methodology of behaviorism. However, his work was later discovered by American psychologists and is quite similar to the schema-based approach to memory that currently popular (Mandler, 1985). We have briefly traced the historical roots of cognitive psychology, but when was this new approach actually born?. There is general agreement that the birthdate should be listed as 1956 (Gardner, 1985; Simon, 1981). During this busy year, a large number of researchers published influential books and articles on attention, memory, language, concept formation, and problem solving. Some psychologists even specify a single day on which cognitive psychology was born. On September 11, 1956, many of the important researchers attended a symposium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Enthusiasm for the cognitive approach grew rapidly, so that by about 1960, there were major changes in methodology, approach, and
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attitudes (Mandler, 1985). Another important point was the publication of Ulric Neissers book Cognitive Psychology (Neisser, 1967). In fact , the increasing enthusiasm for the cognitive approach has sometimes been called the Cognitive Revolution. Several factors contributed to the dramatic rise in popularity of cognitive psychology : 1. Psychologists were becoming increasingly disappointed with the behaviorist outlook that dominated American psychology. Is was difficult to explain complex human behavior using only the term and concepts from traditional behaviorist learning theory such as a stimuli, responses and reinforcement. 2. Linguists, such as Noam Chomsky (1957), rejected the behaviorist approach to language acquisition and emphasized the mental processes necessary for language use. Specifically, these linguists proposed that the structure of language was too complex to be explained in behaviorist terms. Many linguists argued that humans have the inborn ability to master language, and idea that clearly contradicted the behaviorists emphasis on learning in the acquisition of language. 3. Memory research began to blossom at the end of the 1950s. Researchers explored the possibility of different kinds of memory, examined its organization, and proposed models of it. Behavioral terms were of limited usefulness in the area. 4. Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, had been constructing a new theory of developmental psychology that emphasized how children come to understand concepts such as object permanence. His books began to be appreciated by American psychologists and educators toward the end of the 1950s. 5. Perhaps most important, the information-processing approach was developed. This approach was developed from origins in the communication sciences and in computer science, and this view appealed to many psychologists. Two important components of the information-processing approach are : a. that a mental process is interpreted as a flow on information through various stages, b. a mental process can be better understood by comparing it with the operations of computer DAFTAR PUSTAKA Matlin, Margaret W. 1989. Cognition. Second Edition. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc, New York

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