l o o k i n g
What do jock itch, poison gas, and flesh-eating bacte-
ria have in common? Gregory Schultz, 56, thinks he
has the answer. The cancer researcher turned inven-
tor has patented a technique for chemically bonding
bacteria-fighting polymers to such fabrics as gauze
bandages, cotton T shirts, and men’s underpants. It’s
a technology with an unusually wide variety of uses,
from underwear that doesn’t stink to hospital dress-
ings that thwart infections.
The bandages, coated with positively charged anti-
microbial molecules, dramatically reduce the risk of
infection, Schultz says, and as a bonus they can pre-
vent outbreaks of the drug-resistant staph infections
that have been racing through U.S. hospitals. “It basi-
cally punches holes in the bacteria,” he says, “and they
pop like balloons.” (Morrissey, 2006)
Schultz’s invention was a long time in coming. Two decades earlier, a student working in a burn unit men-
tioned that the way in which cells responded to cancer might be harnessed to help burn victims avoid infec-
tion. It took 20 years of puzzling over the problem before Schultz invented his antibacterial bandages.
It is clear that Schultz has the elusive quality that marks successful inventors: creativity. Where did his
creativity come from? More generally, how do people use information to devise innovative solutions to
problems? And how do people think about, understand, and, through
language, describe the world?
Answers to these questions come from
branch of psychology that focuses on the study of higher mental pro-
cesses, including thinking, language, memory, problem solving, know-
ing, reasoning, judging, and decision making. Clearly, the realm of
cognitive psychology is broad.
Cognitive psychology centers on three major topics: memory, thinking and reasoning, and language.
We start this chapter by considering memory and forgetting. Then we examine how people think and
reason as well as different strategies for approaching problems. Finally, we discuss how language is
developed and acquired, its basic characteristics, and the relationship between language and thought.
The branch of
psychology that focuses on the study
of higher mental processes, including
thinking, language, memory, problem
solving, knowing, reasoning, judging,
and decision making.
c h a p t e r o u t l i n e
m o d u l e
The Foundations of Memory
L o n g - T e r m M e m o r y
Recall and Forgetting
Constructive Processes in Memory: Rebuilding the Past
Are There Cross-Cultural Differences