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J Hist Behav Sci. 2002 Fall;38(4):339-53.

Origins of the cognitive (r)evolution.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0109, USA.


The well documented cognitive "revolution" was, to a large extent, an evolving return to attitudes and trends that were present prior to the advent of behaviorism and that were alive and well outside of the United States, where behaviorism had not developed any coherent support. The behaviorism of the 1920 to 1950 period was replaced because it was unable to address central issues in human psychology, a failure that was inherent in part in J. B. Watson's founding manifesto with its insistence on the seamless continuity of human and nonhuman animal behavior. The "revolution" was often slow and piecemeal, as illustrated by four conferences held between 1955 and 1966 in the field of memory. With the realization that different approaches and concepts were needed to address a psychology of the human, developments in German, British, and Francophone psychology provided some of the fuel of the "revolution."

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