Any type of paradigm serves as a model or reference to describe and analyze a particular topic. Understanding that in a broad sense different theories are taken into account that pose a great diversity of resolutions to specific problems or situations, in conclusion a paradigm allows to address a topic while maintaining a clearer perspective.

Generally the word paradigm is understood as an accepted synonym for words such as model, norm, rule, pattern or ideal . But a wide classification of different typologies of paradigms also arises, each of them adapts to themes that have their own ideas and purposes.

One of the paradigm typologies is the one called the cognitive paradigm. It is recognized because it takes into account all those aspects that are typical of the human mind. This means that only those references or theories that try to explain what the learning and behavior processes are like will be taken into account .

What is the cognitive paradigm?

The cognitive paradigm is a group of theoretical foundations and study systems about how the brain works in general and how knowledge is assimilated in particular.

The cognitive paradigm is an adverse response to the behaviorist paradigm , in the framework of the technological revolution after the 1950s, when information technology breaks into communication and, therefore, in the development of knowledge.

In addition, the cognitive paradigm is an essential component of cognitive science, which is responsible for analyzing how the production of knowledge is articulated with respect to learning and behaviors, depending on the solution of questions. As its base is objectivist, it is a rationalist current.

Characteristics of the cognitive paradigm

As indicated, this paradigm is part of the cognitive sciences, so from its origin a parallelism has been identified between the functioning of computers and the human brain. Computational discourse , the analogy between mind and machine, has served as the basis for explaining the workings of the mind.

Cognitivism is a current of the early twentieth century. Its central focus is on education and meaningful learning, which uses knowledge already assimilated to connect with the specific cognitive schema of each student. His areas are linguistic analysis, information theory and computer science, interests that he shares with the sociocultural paradigm.

The fundamental idea of ​​the notion of cognitive learning consists in the preaching that the memorization of new data depends on internal and external variables. Therefore, it tries to identify the factors that come into play in learning, in order to enhance them.

Consequently, the purpose of cognitive learning is to enhance the way in which information is exposed to an individual attending to various contexts. Of course, the most cited is the educational system, although it has applications in other areas such as psychology and communication.

In practice, cognitive learning theory gave rise to two paradigms: a) the theory of social cognition, and b) the cognitive-behavioral theory.

In a synthetic way, the first argues that there are three agents necessary for learning to take place, those of a behavioral nature , those of an environmental nature and those of a personal nature . The theory of social cognition places great importance on the environment. For this reason, it maintains that satisfactory learning is achieved in a person with an active behavior and in an environment conducive to obtaining new knowledge.

The second theory, cognitive behavioral, studies the links between a subject’s behavior, their feelings and their beliefs . The human experience can be understood by these three factors. In the pedagogical field, the cognitive behavioral theory highlights the existence of three components that determine the data that can be memorized: self-perception, the way of perceiving the context and expectations or thoughts regarding the future.

For cognitive psychology, the analysis of learning processes such as reasoning and language , which are expressed in the nature of ideas and the solution of hypotheses, is fundamental .

The mind-machine metaphor leads to the proposition that the cognitive system is made up of receptors, a motor system and cognitive processes. In this sense, these last processes decode and recognize the information transmitted by the receptors (the senses), model actions on individuals, guide the assignment of cognitive skills, such as the memory of actions and experiences.

Due to its importance in the educational field, a series of characteristics are highlighted below:

  • The cognitive paradigm understands the human body and its senses as a whole. The metaphor of the computer, its processing function, is the resource to which it appeals, giving the brain a unique role.
  • For cognitivism, it is the brain and not stimuli , whether external or irrational, that direct human competencies. For this reason, it moves away from behavioral and psychoanalytic positions, respectively.
  • Higher skills , such as intelligence, creativity, reflective and critical thinking, are of interest to this paradigm. And education should be responsible for developing mental abilities and skills along with emotional qualities, such as values ​​and attitudes.
  • Defend the idea of ​​a thoughtful teacher In addition, it is seen as a mediator of learning, with the development of the intellectual and affective capacities of students as the axis of its work. The model is learning to learn, and the curriculum design directs its attention to objectives by content and methods.
  • From this reflective perspective , learning proceeds under the question of how the learner learns and, therefore, the teacher implements the strategy.
  • Intelligence is not seen as a gift that is or is not, but is the product of the work of the mind . It recognizes that there is a potential intelligence, but that it can and should be developed through training strategies.
  • Short, medium and long-term memory is fundamental to this paradigm. Constructive memory is an essential factor. In addition, the imagination is understood as part of that process of knowledge. Memory and imagination are factors for the construction of knowledge.

In psychopedagogy, the cognitive paradigm studies the cognitive aptitude of the student to learn and solve questions . How is this cognitive aptitude established? It is made from the scrutiny of:

  • The basic learning processes, such as attention, perception, coding, memory and replacement of data .
  • The preceding skills, abilities, notions and knowledge.
  • The ways of learning.
  • The general and specific methods learned.
  • The knowledge acquired by personal cognitive experiences or by metacognition.

In conclusion

The cognitive paradigm represented the overcoming of the behavioral and historical-social paradigms. In this sense, he dealt with the metacognitive perspective: reflection on how to learn. Using the analogy with the computer , the human brain was identified with a processor, underlining its potentialities and aptitudes, in addition to its values ​​and attitudes, in order to enhance them.

In a meta-reflexive effort , the cognitive paradigm attempted to identify how people learn to learn or teach how to think. It strengthened the conceptual and methodological apparatus of education, basing learning on elementary cognitive processes, such as sensations, motivation and perception, as well as on higher cognitive processes, such as intelligence, thought, language, memory, etc.

The cognitive paradigm put on the table the urgency of an informed society in the face of its new role as user of computer and information systems, such as the Internet. They are the so-called learning societies that the cognitive paradigm has highlighted. Society must learn according to the speed of advance of the new information and communication technologies. The cognitive paradigm has been fundamental to this process.

However, like all paradigms, it is exclusive of other systems and, therefore, sins of reductionist due to its disciplinary and psychologist perspective, which confines it and distances it from the contributions of other disciplines. The cognitive paradigm is individualistic , so in practice it would need to be complemented with other models, particularly with the social paradigm.

How is it related to psychology? 

Many of the educational policies and institutions that have favored the historical-social paradigm, with cooperative learning, the so-called social interactionism, the social structuring of the mind, have been reluctant to the cognitive paradigm. However, for psychology it is vitally important because it allows us to better understand people and their mentality.

It turns out to be very useful for psychology because information from information theories computer science and also linguistics is taken into account . This is how it is possible to study in a more adequate way all learning processes, in particular those where new concepts and new approaches are created for solving problems of various kinds.

But it is also a system that not only identifies but also interprets . In this way, it has been possible to have a better understanding of the receivers and the performers, that is, all those aspects that intervene in actions such as memory.

The first time that the cognitive paradigm applied to psychology was mentioned was based on the proposals made by Jean Piaget It does so with the intention of proposing a psychogenetic theory that tries to explain the assimilation of knowledge taking into account internal motivations. In his statements he includes that the genetic interpretation of a child is responsible for processes such as logical operations.

In this way an individual has notions and perceptions such as space and time. According to Piaget, the cognitive paradigm consists of 4 phases that intervene in the development process of the construction of knowledge. This is a process that begins in childhood and gradually evolves into adulthood.

We must also consider the contributions made by the American-born psychologist named Jerome Bruner . It is known by the name of instructional theory, because it states that learning depends on an active process where information depends on an individual organization .

On the other hand, there is also the learning theory of David Ausubel. It raises the concept of didactic teaching that influences learning. He specifically divides them into two categories: meaningful learning and machine learning. The first depends on pre-existing information that is used to connect to the cognitive structure. The second depends on the incorporation of new information through memorization and repetition.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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