Analyze the empiricist and rationalist approaches of cognitive psychology.

Empiricist Approach or Rationalist Approach

There are various research methods in cognitive psychology which may be based mainly on empiricist approach or rationalist approach. While rationalist approach deals with the subject matter by trying to reason logically, based on what we already know, the empiricist method relates to observing and testing our observations of what we can perceive through our senses.

The important methods of cognitive psychology includes:

  • Laboratory or other controlled experiments,
  • Psycho biological research,
  • Self-reports, case studies, naturalistic observation, and
  • Computer simulations and artificial intelligence.

The laboratory or other controlled experiments test hypotheses and build theories by following empiricist approach. In this case, research is conducted typically in a laboratory setting while keeping as many aspects of the experimental situation as it Is possible.

Two basic variables used are independent variables and dependent variables. Apart from this, the irrelevant variables are held constant and are known as control variables. A representative and random sample of the population of interest is taken to avoid bias in data generation.

Finally, probable causality is inferred. The relationship between cognitive performance and cerebral events and situations is studied by the psycho-biological researcher. Techniques used are individual’s brain post-mortem, study of cognitive deficit brain, and study of cerebral process in normal functioning, Post-morten study of brain is related to study of the individual’s cognitive function prior to death to observable features of the brain.

The study of images is done to show structures of or activities in the brain of an individual with a particular cognitive deficit. Brain imaging techniques are also applied for studying normal functioning of the brain.

As opposed to the above two methods, Self-Reports, Case Studies, and Naturalistic Observation methods focus on precise specification of discrete aspects of cognition across individuals. They cover a broad range of context and provide a fuller, deep, detailed account of and rare insight into a cognitive phenomena.

However, they are logical based and need to support their hypotheses by carrying out experiments. Computer Simulations and Artificial intelligence are related to programming of computers to perform a specific process or function of human mind, This method has helped new areas of research and has provided new techniques for study of cognition.

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