Cognitive Psychology has been produced as the core text for the Open University’s level 3 course in Cognitive Psychology (DD303). However, it has been designed to serve students taking other courses in cognitive psychology as well, either as essential or recommended reading. There are a number of features of the design of this text that we hope will serve well both students learning about cognitive psychology and educators teaching the subject.
The chapters in this book are organized in five parts. The first four parts focus on broad and well-established topic areas within cognitive psychology, such as perceptual processes and memory. The fifth considers a range of challenges, themes and issues – topics that have been thought to present challenges to the cognitive approach, such as emotion and consciousness; themes such as cognitive modelling and modularity; and issues such as the relation of cognition to biology. The first chapter is not located in one of these parts. It attemptsto give a historical and conceptual introduction to cognitive psychology, laying out the foundations of the subject, and raising some of the important themes and issues that are revisited in later chapters. Some of these themes are developed also in the introductions to each of the subsequent parts; we recommend that students read these introductions prior to reading their associated parts, and re-read them afterwards.