Cognitive Psychology: Theory, Process, and Methodology - Dawn M. McBride, J. Cooper Cutting 2019


We are pleased to present the second edition of Cognitive Psychology: Theory, Process, and Methodology to aid students in their learning about this field. We wrote this text to share our love of cognitive psychology with students learning about this exciting area of psychology. The revision reflects comments made by instructors and students who have used the text in its first edition and we hope it improves upon the clarity and detail of the original text.

Our main goal in writing this text was to engage students in the topics through connections to everyday situations they might encounter (each chapter begins with one of these real-world situations or stories) and with a student-friendly and personal writing style. However, we also focused on methodology in this field as a way to allow students to gain the researcher’s perspective in studying these topics and to understand how such research aids in evaluating theoretical perspectives on cognitive psychology, which are constantly changing as new data are collected. To illustrate the different methodologies, we have chosen a mix of classic studies and more recent findings in the areas covered in each chapter.

Each chapter is written to be encapsulated, such that instructors can choose to cover topics in the order they wish. We also worked to show connections between the different topics (as well as to other fields of study such as social psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and biology) within the chapters to show students the large overlap between the mental processes studied in cognitive psychology.

Chapter 1 is an introductory chapter covering general research methodology in cognitive psychology to help students better understand the studies presented in the chapters to come. Chapter 2, Cognitive Neuroscience, is presented early in the text to provide students with necessary background on the methods used in this subfield and the biological mechanisms the methods rely on for measurement. Neuroscience studies are then embedded within the following chapters, where they provide evidence for different theoretical and conceptual descriptions of the cognitive processes discussed in each chapter. Chapters 3 through 12 then cover the major topics in the field including perception, attention, memory, language, imagery, concepts, problem solving, and decision making.

Each chapter ends with a Thinking About Research activity that provides a description of a current study in that area of cognitive psychology from the journal Psychological Science. Descriptions are summary versions of the subsections of the published studies to help scaffold student learning of journal article reading skills. The full reference for each article is provided (with the full text of the article available on the text’s SAGE edge website) to allow instructors to assign and/or discuss the article in their courses. Each Thinking About Research section also includes critical thinking questions to help students connect the study to the topic of the chapter and think about the design (and reasons for the design) used in the study.

Chapters include Stop and Think sections to help students pause and consider the information they have just read. Some questions are designed to help students do a quick review of the material to gauge their learning. Other questions are designed to help them think critically about the material and connect it to their own lives. Answers are provided for these questions at the end of each chapter.

The text can also be paired with an interactive ebook that contains links to lab exercises and demonstrations, with follow-up questions to help students make connections between the methods of study presented in the text and the suggested exercises. The exercises and related assessment are also available via the book’s SAGE edge website, described in more detail below. Look at the end of each chapter for information on how to visit the SAGE edge website to find additional resources, such as the following:

· Watch a video clip with an example or demonstration of the concept.

· Listen to a clip from a news story or podcast about the concept.

· Read a SAGE journal article demonstrating research on the concept.

· Visit a website with more information, an interactive exercise, or a demonstration related to the concept.

· Activities tied to learning objectives in each chapter that students can do on their own as they read.

In this second edition, we made the following changes based on feedback we received from the first edition:

· Moved most of the content on long-term memory to Chapter 6 to provide a better focus on this concept in Chapter 6 instead of splitting it across two chapters

· Added more detailed figure captions to help readers understand the figures more easily

· Added additional concepts to the glossary and index to help students learn these concepts more easily and find them in the text faster

· Added additional design and results figures from studies described in the chapters to help students more easily understand and interpret the findings from key studies

· Updated and added photos throughout the text to retain the modern, colorful look of the first edition

We hope you enjoy reading Cognitive Psychology as much as we enjoyed writing it!

Dawn M. McBride

J. Cooper Cutting


SAGE edge offers a robust online environment featuring an impressive array of tools and resources for review, study, and further exploration, keeping both instructors and students on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. Go to to access the companion site.

SAGE edge for Instructors

SAGE edge for Instructors, a password-protected instructor resource site, supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students. The following chapter-specific assets are available on the teaching site:

· Test banks provide a diverse range of questions as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.

· Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to assist in the preparation of lectures and class discussions.

· Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring a course.

· Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course.

· Lively and stimulating ideas for class assignments can be used in class to reinforce active learning. The creative assignments apply to individual or group projects.

· Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content.

· A Course cartridge provides easy LMS integration.

SAGE edge for Students

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment. The open-access study site includes the following:

· Learning objectives reinforce the most important material.

· Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.

· Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.

· Interactive exercises and meaningful Web links make it easy to mine Internet resources, further explore topics, and answer critical thinking questions.

· Multimedia content includes audio and video resources that appeal to students with different learning styles.

· EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter.


We’d like to acknowledge a number of important people who helped in many ways in the writing of this text and helped improve it from its initial drafts. First are Jeff Wagman and Adena Meyers. Jeff read some chapters and both Jeff and Adena offered feedback and provided essential support during the project. In addition, our family, friends, and colleagues provided support and helpful feedback during the writing process. In particular, Marla Reese-Weber and Corinne Zimmerman provided helpful discussion and support while we worked on this text. Several reviewers also provided valuable suggestions that greatly improved the quality of the text. At SAGE, we’d like to thank Reid Hester for his valuable assistance in getting this project approved, keeping it going, and providing important discussion of issues that arose. Abbie Rickard, Lucy Berbeo, and Morgan Shannon also provided much appreciated support and feedback about the text. Dawn also thanks the students at Illinois State University who have taken her PSY 253 course and influenced her teaching of this material. All the individuals named here contributed in important ways to the production of this text and have our sincere thanks and gratitude.

SAGE gratefully acknowledges the following reviewers:

First edition:

· Lise Abrams, University of Florida

· Elizabeth Arnott-Hill, Chicago State University

· Caroline A. Arout, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York

· George M. Diekhoff, Midwestern State University

· Susan E. Dutch, Westfield State University

· Dr. Jane E. Dwyer, Rivier University

· Sara Finley, Pacific Lutheran University

· Kathleen A. Flannery, Saint Anselm College

· Alexandra K. Frazer, Muhlenberg College

· Kelly M. Goedert, Seton Hall University

· Tina L. Jameson, Bridgewater State University

· Jerwen Jou, University of Texas — Pan American

· Todd A. Kahan, Bates College

· Jeff Kellogg, Marian University

· Melissa K. Kelly, Millsaps College

· Adam Krawitz, University of Victoria

· William Langston, Middle Tennessee State University

· Sara J. Margolin, The College at Brockport, State University of New York

· Lisa M. Maxfield, California State University, Long Beach

· Glenn E. Meyer, Trinity University

· Michaela Porubanova, SUNY, Farmingdale

· Jianjian Qin, California State University, Sacramento

· Hiroko Sotozaki, Western Illinois University

· Melissa S. Terlecki, Cabrini College

· Silvana M. R. Watson, Old Dominion University

Second edition:

· Natalie Costa, University of New Orleans

· Baine Craft, Seattle Pacific University

· Doug Dinero, Onondaga Community College

· Caitlin Faas, Mount St. Mary’s University

· Jeffery K. Gray, Ph.D., Charleston Southern University

· Justin Hulbert, Bard College

· David A. Rosenbaum, University of California, Riverside

· Darrell Rudmann, Shawnee State University

· Joseph D. W. Stephens, North Carolina A&T State University

About the Authors

Dawn M. McBride

is a professor of psychology at Illinois State University. Her research interests include automatic forms of memory, false memory, prospective memory, and forgetting. She has taught courses in introductory psychology, statistics, research methods, cognition and learning, human memory, and a graduate course in experimental design. She is a recipient of the Illinois State University Teaching Initiative Award. Her out-of-work interests include spending time with her family, traveling, watching Philadelphia (her place of birth) sports teams, learning new languages (currently Japanese) and reading British murder mysteries. She earned her PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.

J. Cooper Cutting

(PhD, cognitive psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is associate professor of psychology at Illinois State University. Dr. Cutting’s research interests are in psycholinguistics, primarily, with a focus on the production of language. A central theme of his research is how different types of information interact during language use. He has examined this issue in the context of lexical access, within-sentence agreement processes, figurative language production, and pragmatics. He teaches courses in research methods, statistics, cognitive psychology, computer applications in psychology, human memory, psycholinguistics, and sensation and perception.


Graham Monro/gm photographics/Photolibrary/Getty