chapter  2
The Emergence of Cognitive Psychology in the Latter Half of the Twentieth Century
Pages 24

A history demands specification of its object. There are problems in this regard when considering a history of contemporary cognitive psychology. One cannot proceed except by reference to a great number of persons, concepts, methods, tasks, and a few findings. This is not as true of the history of alternative psychol­ ogies. An adequate if not complete account of behaviorism can be given by consulting the relevant works of only two persons: John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner. A similar claim, with the necessary qualifications concerning nuances and “ neoisms,” may be made about the history of psychoanalysis. Cognitive psychology, because it has no locus in the work of a single or even a few persons, seems a more elusive content and its boundaries more difficult to specify. There appears to be no lessening of its current appeal and consequently much of its history is in progress. In fact, it seems a safe forecast to assert that future historians will characterize twentieth-century psychology as a half century of behaviorism followed by a half century of cognitivism.