Cognitivism in Dictionary

The cognitivismo is a stream of psychology who specializes in the study of cognition (the mind processes related to knowledge). The cognitive psychology, therefore, studies the mechanisms leading to the development of the knowledge.

The construction of knowledge involves several complex actions, such as storing, recognizing, understanding, organizing and using the information received through the senses. Cognitivism seeks to know how people understand the reality in which they live from the transformation of sensory information.

For cognitivism, knowledge is functional since when a subject is faced with an event that he has already processed in his mind (that is, that he already knows), he can more easily anticipate what may happen in the near future.

Knowledge helps people develop plans and set goals, minimizing the chances of experiencing a negative consequence. The behavior of human beings conforms to the cognitive and the expectations of the known.

According to DigoPaul, cognitivism appears as an evolution of behavioral psychology, since it tries to explain behavior from mental processes. The behaviorists, on the other hand, relied on the association between stimuli and responses.

The cognitive psychologists, therefore, emphasize that, depending on how the person processes information and understands the world around her, she develops a certain type of behavior. Human beings contrast the new information with their cognitive structure and, from there, shape their actions.

In the Complete Theory of Cognitive Development, developed by the renowned psychologist Jean Piaget, the two attributes that, in his opinion, represent intelligence are exposed: organization, stages of knowledge that lead to different behaviors in each situation; the adaptation, which is related to the acquisition of new information and act accommodate such information.

Relationship with constructivism

According to the paradigm of cognitivism, learning is a process that entails the modification of meanings within the mind, and this occurs intentionally once a person actively interacts with the information they collect from their environment. This point of view emerged in the late 1960’s, as a transition between the behaviorism paradigm and current theories of psychopedagogy.

Emilia Ferreiro Schiavi, a psychologist and writer born in Argentina in 1936, is an important figure in the study and research of psychology. Regarding cognitivism, he points out that it focuses on mental representation and, consequently, on the dimensions or categories of the cognitive, which are perception, attention, language, memory, thought and intelligence.

Ferreiro also adds that cognitivism tends to resort to various approaches to explain the learning process, among which is information processing. On the other hand, it is also important to analyze the way in which acts are guided by mental representations and how they are constructed.

In short, cognitivism is an independent process that consists of decoding meanings to acquire long-term knowledge and develop strategies to be able to think freely, investigate and learn, and this makes all subject valuable in itself.

The paradigm of constructivism follows from this, since it is a way of understanding learning as an active process, in which each human being builds their own reality and their own experiences. For constructivism, each person voluntarily engages with others to learn and generate knowledge, fundamentally relying on feedback to acquire content.