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Psy 360 Cognitive Psychology




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"Cognitive" psychology is simply one form of psychology, which is one
kind of social science. The emphasis is on the mind, thinking, etc. The
whole concept of thinking and meaning and memory and other
"cognitions" is very soft and, shall we say...wishy-washy.
The "hard" sciences are the sciences that have very rigid criteria,
methods, etc. They include all forms of math (algebra, trig, geometry,
etc.), physics, astronomy, chemistry...etc. The all have "rules" that by
following them you always arrive at the correct place. 2 + 2 ALWAYS = 4
The "soft" sciences are those that deal with people individually or in
groups: (sociology, psychology, anthropology, etc.) They have "rules" that
govern them, but they are not as rigid or clear-cut as in the "hard"
Both hard and soft sciences seek information by using the "scientific
method" which is the same for all the sciences. It involves theory,
hypothesis, null-hypothesis, testing, statistical tests, etc.
Some people think that "hard" sciences are somehow "better" than the
"soft" sciences. I say it's the other way around. It is MUCH harder to
come to reasonable conclusions about people, especially in groups
(marriages, families, community, etc.), than it is to manipulate data in a
"hard" science where all the rules are already known.
Fortunately, with the advent of "quantum" physics (especially
Schroedinger's Cat, and the Heisenberg Principle) we are beginning to see
some "softness" (that is to say, uncertainty!) in the so-called "hard"
science of physics.

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