I/O Psychology: Functionalism, Technology, Training, and Cognitive Psychology
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate how functionalism and cognitive psychology align with Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychology, and defend the use functionalism and cognitive psychology, schools of thought to support the research topic on the effect of technological advancements, such as avatars, holograms, and computer/web-based instruction in employee training and development. In addition this paper serves as a call to action for those in the I/O psychology field to become leaders in research and the development of theories that practical applications in the work environment.
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From the beginning, I/O psychologists were psychotechnologists who sought to understand the how and why of human adaptive behavior through observation, testing, and experimentation in order to predict and control behavior through the practical application of theory in business and industry through the exploration of individual differences, mental processes, emotional regulation, motivation, and behavior (Bingham, 1953; Katzell & Austin, 1992; Koppes & Pickren, 2007; Landy, 1997). Pychotechnology defined by Bingham (1953), Koppes and Pickren (2007), and Landy (1997) as an objective discipline in immersed in the scientific practice of psychology that seeks to explain an organisms adaptive ability to the environment through the exploration of individual differences in mental processes and behaviors that promote productivity and efficiency in the work environment to maintain and improve an organization's competitive advantage through the practical application of theory; thereby, earning the I/O psychology the usual distinction of an "technology based field with a focus on practical issues" (Koppes & Pickren, 2007, p. 26). It is the understanding of history of I/O psychology that helps future.
While functionalism provides the historical foundation for I/O psychology and the research on technology in the work, cognitive psychology adds to the richness of the research by providing cognitive theories that assist in explaining the how and why of mental processes and behaviors associated with learning in virtual environments and with virtual agents. Cognitive theories of learning help to advance theory development and scientific knowledge by hypothesizing on the non-behavioral dimensions that cause the behavior, characteristics, and the how of their functional relationship based on the assumption the mind is a computer program; therefore, the role of cognitive psychology is to infer the nature and function of the program, which embraces philosophical functionalism that defines mental states by function rather than physical or physiological constraints (Moore, 2010, p. 701). Consequently, functionalism and its connection to cognitive psychology enhances the role of I/O psychologist as a bridge between science, psychology, and technology, which allows for the creation, modification, and clarification of theories on the role of technological advancements in training and development in the work environment. As a result, I/O psychologists must lead the way in research and theory development that have practical applications in the work environment as organizations seek cost-effective means to train, educate, and develop employees separated by generational differences, geographical distance, and time zones.
Current theories of learning such as social-cognitive theory, cognitive distribution, self-regulation, and information processing assist in explaining the how and why of mental processes and behaviors associated with learning in...