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PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Manual Transmission, Semantic Memory, Episodic Memory

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Mark Schmuckler

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Week 7 Chapter 9: Cognitive Development: The Information-Processing Approach
Information Processing approach: perspective = human mind is likened to a computer, processing info
from environment through perception and attention (input), encoding it in memory (storage and
retrieval) and applying info to solution of problems (software)
- Changes in brain and sensory systems (hardware), rules and strategies of thinking (software)
- Focused on gradual and quantitative changes in mental functioning
Human cognition system 2 MAIN LIMITATIONS:
1. Amt of info that can be processed at one time
2. Speed which it can process info
4 Basic Assumptions of the information Processing approach
1. Thinking is info processing
2. There are mechanisms or processes of change that underlie the processing of info (ex, with
development children better able to encode info)
3. A self-modifying process
4. Careful task analysis is crucial = task or problem situation itself influences child’s cognitive
performance, involves error analysis: attending to errors
- Microgenetic analysis: a very detailed examination of how a child solves a problem
4 key mechanisms of info processing: 1) encoding, 2) strategy construction, 3) automatization, 4)
3 Information processing models
1. The Multi-store model: info is depicted as moving through a series of processing units (sensory
register: rcvs info from environment and stores fleetingly, ST memory: 15 30 seconds and LT
memory), each of which it may be stored fleetingly or permanently
2. Connectionist Models: describe mental processes in terms of interconnections of the neural
network = emphasize biological component!
3. Non-Piagetian Information-Processing Models: integrate Paiget’s ideas w/info processing
perspective describes development in 4 stages, each stage an increasingly sophisticated
Executive Control Structure: a mental blueprint/plan for solving a class of problems, 3
components: 1) A representation of problem, 2) A representation of goal of the problem, 3) A
representation of a strategy for attaining the goal
Cognitive processes: ways that the human mental system operates on info
4 cognitive processes that changes with development
1. Encoding and Representation encode relevant info into mental representations: info stored
mentally in some form, ex, verbal, pictorial (attend to that info determines what is retained)
2. Strategies conscious cognitive or behavioural activities that are used to enhance mental
performance decrease the load on info processing system by increasing the efficiency of
each process
3. Automization: making behaviours that once were conscious and controlled into unconscious
and automatic ones (ex, learning to drive a car with a stick shift)
4. Generalization: applying strategy learned while solving a problem in one situation to a similar
problem in a new situation
Executive Control process: cognitive process serves to control, guide, and monitor the success of a
problem-solving approach a child uses
- Expertise can enhance cognitive processing in children in a familiar domain
Development of some important cognitive abilities
1. Attention: the identification and selection of particular sensory input for more detailed
- Control of attention even preschoolers can direct attention to relevant info when distracting
info is present
- Selective attention: person focuses on some features of the environment and ignores others
2. Attention and Planning: selective attention + deliberate organization of a sequence of actions
oriented toward achieving a goal
- learning about the thinking of another appears to enhance the child’s own understanding of the
3. Memory
- Semantic memory: all the world knowledge and facts a person possesses
- Episodic memory: memory for specific events, autobiographical nature
- Remembering can be intentional (explicit memory: req efforts to store and retrieve) or
unintentional (ex, language)
- 3 areas of memory that improve development: 1) Basic Capacities, 2) Strategies that enhance
memory, 3) world knowledge: what a child has learned from experience and knows about the
world in general (meaningfulness and goal for activity improves memory)
Basic Capacities include: 1) Memory Span, 2) Processing efficiency, 3) Processing speed
3 Common Memory Strategies: 1) Rehearsal (the style not frequency diff in performance), 2)
Organization (remembered by categorization and hierarchical relationships), 3) Elaboration: one
adds to info to make it more meaningful easier to place in LT memory
3 Reasons why young children do not use strategies:
1. Mediation Deficiency: inability to use strategies to store info in LT memory
2. Production Deficiency: inability to generate and spontaneously use memory strategies that one
3. Utilization Deficiency: inability to use a memory strategy that one knows (when it new and less
practised skills using may consume much mental effort, Cost vs. Benefits)
Problem solving and Reasoning
Problem solving: identification of a goal and of steps to reach that goal
4 areas of Problem solving
1. Rule-based problem solving
- Solving problems by using rules that guide thinking
2. Solving Problems by Analogy
- Using one problem to solve another
- Source/analogue: the familiar situation, target analogue: the unfamiliar situation
3. Using cognitive tools
- Structure of routine behaviours or forms of representations
- 3 types: 1) Scripts: basic outline on what one should expect/do in a specific situation (help
remember over a long period, organize + free up space in info-processing system for new info),
2) Cognitive maps: mental representation of the spatial layout of a physical or geographical
place (landmark knowledge route knowledge mental map), 3) symbolic representations
(most basic form involves understanding notational systems)
4. Deductive Reasoning: logical thinking that reaches a conclusion based on a set of premises or
statements that have already been laid out
- Syllogism: a type of deductive reasoning that inc a major premise, a minor premise and a
- 3 types of deductive reasoning: 1) Propositional logic: logic of a statement is evaluated based on
the info in the statement alone (as in syllogism), 2) Transitive reasoning: mental arrangement of
things along a quantitative dimension, 3) hierarchical categorization: organization of concepts
into levels of abstraction that range from the specific to the general
Numerical Reasoning 5 basic principles of counting that lead to children’s competence with