Why is It Important to Study Cognitive Psychology?

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How is information processed?

It is important to study cognitive psychology to gain an understanding of other people and their thought processes. Cognitive psychology covers areas such as language, learning and memory, speech, and the storage and recall of information. Behaviors occur as a result of how information is received and interpreted, and individual differences can vary greatly from one person to the next. Cognitive psychologist work with patients to help them understand their thought processes so they can make positive behavioral changes. When an individual understand their own cognitive processes, they can analyze their thoughts before taking action.

Educators use their knowledge of learning styles to ensure each student receives the information in a way that they can best comprehend it. Some people are visual learners, while others are better able to learn and recall information they have received via audio. There are lots of audio books on the market these days because of the availability if iPods and similar audio devices. Other people still prefer to read, and a Kindle e-book reader is a popular item. I have to wonder how many people who use audio books also read hard copy books or Kindle versions. I imagine most people would prefer one or the other based on their specific learning style, despite the popularity of both devices.

Cognitive Psychology and Advertising

Marketing companies also use knowledge of cognitive psychology to help them design effective marketing campaigns. Some of the advertisements I notice are in their simplest and probably cheapest form, when they display text on the screen as well as having a voice-over speaking the same words.

Process Information

The analogy of computer intelligence is often used to describe brain processes and the methods of sorting, filing, and relaying information. “Like a computer, the brain takes in information, manipulates it, and then produces responses.” (Willingham, 2007, p. 2).When we understand just a little about a particular subject, we might open a book and read a more detailed description of the subject so we can add to the knowledge base we already possess. We might also replace information that was previously stored with information derived from studies that are more recent. This would be similar to a computer overwriting older files with newer versions. Although the basic information is the same, the newer ‘file’ contains more detail than the previous knowledge that had been stored for future recall.


Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River,

      NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall