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Week 7.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Mark Schmuckler

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) generalization 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 S 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 processing - 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 problem 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
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