The computational metaphor and cognitive psychology

Abstract

The past three decades have witnessed a remarkable growth of research interest in the mind. This trend has been acclaimed as the ‘cognitive revolution’ in psychology. At the heart of this revolution lies the claim that the mind is a computational system. The purpose of this paper is both to elucidate this claim and to evaluate its implications for cognitive psychology. The nature and scope of cognitive psychology and cognitive science are outlined, the principal assumptions underlying the information processing approach to cognition are summarised and the nature of artificial intelligence and its relationship to cognitive science are explored. The ‘computational metaphor’ of mind is examined and both the theoretical and methodological issues which it raises for cognitive psychology are considered. Finally, the nature and significance of ‘connectionism’—the latest paradigm in cognitive science—are briefly reviewed.

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