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The "cognitive revolution" is a name for an intellectual movement in the 1950s that began what are known collectively as the cognitive sciences. It began in the modern context of greater interdisciplinary communication and research, which in turn sparked a rethinking of several foundational concepts in the philosophy of science. The relevant areas of interchange were the combination of psychology, anthropology and linguistics with approaches developed within the then-nascent fields of artificial intelligence, computer science and neuroscience.

The cognitive revolution in psychology, was a response to behaviorism. At the time the predominant school in experimental psychology had been behaviorism for a number of decades. This school was heavily influenced by Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, and other physiologists, who had defined psychology as the science of behavior. They proposed that psychology could only become an objective science when it was based on scientific laws of behavior in subjects.

Because mental events are not publicly observable, the only objective measure available is recorded behavior. The behaviorists therefore disregarded any description of mental processes or the mind.

The field of cognitive psychology developed in a response to this approach of psychology. The main idea in the cognitive revolution was that by studying successful functions of artificial intelligence and computer science we might learn more about human mental processes. The cognitive approach was brought to prominence by Donald Broadbent's book Perception and Communication in 1958. The publication of the book Cognitive Psychology by Ulric Neisser in 1967 is also considered an important milestone. Other influential researchers were among others Noam Chomsky, Herbert Simon and Alan Newell. The cognitive revolution reached its height in the 1980's with publications by philosophers such as Daniel Dennett and artificial intelligence experts like Douglas Hofstadter.

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