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    Cognitive Psychology—Thinking and Learning

    Bandura’s approach to learning is more complex than earlier theories. However, today’s psychologists are finding that observational learning does not take into account the actual "thought processes" involved in learning. As a result, the present psychological research focuses on the cognitive approach to learning.

    Cognitive Approach An approach of learning based on abstract mental processes and previous knowledge.


    Many people have heard it is bad luck to break a mirror. This kind of belief cannot be learned through any means other than cognitive learning.

    Psychologists have also discovered that phobias (fear of heights, open spaces, germs, etc) do not arise just from association. These phobias are also coupled with the thought of the real danger associated with them. For example, if you are up on top of a building you could actually fall and get hurt. Another example may be if you acquire many germs, you will get sick. The idea of being conditioned may be in place, but a person must attach a thought (or cognition) with this phobia.

    Cognitive Maps

    In the 1930s, E.C Tolman claimed that humans (and even lab rats) could "map" out where they are in the world by drawing a mental image in their brain. Organisms are able to use strategies to find where they want to be or need to go. Tolman found that rats were able to find their way through mazes rather quickly and chimpanzees were able to be carried through a maze and then complete the maze alone. Think about where you are right now. Can you "find" your way to your favorite restaurant in your mind? How about to the home of your favorite person? Cognitive maps are fun to learn and use.

    E.C Tolman A psychologist who theorized that organisms could find their way through the use of cognitive maps.

    Strategies Methods for solving problems.