Cognitivism is a psychological approach that focuses on the study of mental processes, including perception, attention, memory, language, problem-solving, and thinking. Unlike behaviorism, which primarily emphasizes observable behavior, cognitivism explores the internal mental activities that underlie human cognition.

Cognitivists view the mind as an information-processing system, comparing it to a computer that receives, stores, manipulates, and retrieves information. They believe that mental processes play a crucial role in shaping behavior, and understanding these processes is essential for a comprehensive understanding of human behavior.

The key principles of cognitivism include:

  1. Information processing: Cognitivists consider the mind as an information-processing system, where information is inputted, processed, and outputted. Mental processes involve encoding, storage, retrieval, and manipulation of information.
  2. Mental representations: Cognitivists posit that the mind constructs mental representations of the external world, including objects, events, and concepts. These mental representations serve as the basis for perception, memory, and thought.
  3. Attention and perception: Cognitivism recognizes the importance of attention and perception in the cognitive process. Attention filters and selects relevant information, while perception organizes and interprets sensory input.
  4. Memory and learning: Cognitivists study the processes of memory and learning. They investigate how information is acquired, stored, and retrieved, and how prior knowledge and experiences influence new learning.
  5. Problem-solving and thinking: Cognitivism examines how people solve problems, make decisions, and engage in critical thinking. It explores cognitive strategies, problem-solving heuristics, and decision-making processes.
  6. Language and thought: Cognitivists investigate the relationship between language and thought. They explore how language structures and influences thinking, and how thinking affects language use.

Cognitivism has had a significant impact on various fields, including psychology, education, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interaction. It has influenced the development of cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience, providing a framework for understanding the complex workings of the human mind.