PSYC 2500H Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Myelin, Mental Calculation, Reticular Formation

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Chapter 9 Notes
Information Flow and the Multistore Model
oMultistore model: information-processing model that depicts information as flowing through three
processing units (or stores): the sensory store, the short-term store (STS), and the long-term store
(LTS)
Developed by Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin (1968)
oSensory store (or sensory register): first information-processing store, in which stimuli are noticed
and briefly available for further processing
Multistore model’s log-in unit – simply holds raw sensory input as kind of an
“afterimage” of what you have sensed
Separate sensory registers for each sense modality, and thought that they are hold large
quantities of information – but only for brief periods of time
Contents of sensory stores are volatile and soon disappear without further processing
oShort-term store (STS): second information-processing store, in which stimuli are retained for
several seconds and operated upon (also called working memory)
Capacity of STS is sufficient to allow to retain (example) a telephone number for about
as long as it takes to dial it – unless rehearsed/operated on
Also referred to as primary/working memory – all conscious intellectual activity is
thought to take place here
Has two functions:
Store information temporarily
So you can do something with it
oLong-term store (LTS): third information-processing store, in which information that has been
examined and interpreted is permanently stored for future use
Gives impression a person plays passive role in information processing
Term working memory was proposed by Alan Baddeley (1992) to identify critical role it
plays in allowing us to “work” with information
Info does not flow on its own through various stores/processing units – we actively
channel the input
Information-processing model include control processes/executive functions because
processes involved in planning and monitoring that you attend to and what you do with
this input
oExecutive control processes: the processes involved in regulating attention and determining what
to do with the information just gathered or retrieved from long-term memory
oMetacognition: knowledge about cognition and about the regulation of cognitive activities
oAll information-processing perspectives – the idea that people use a variety of cognitive
operations/strategies to process information through a limited-capacity system
oExecutive control processes are thought to be largely under voluntary control – are most clearly
distinguish human information processors from computers
Humans must initiate, organise, and monitor own cognitive activities
We decide what to attend to, we select own strategies for retaining and retrieving input,
we choose own programs for problem solving, we also choose which problems we wish
to solve
oThe process is one in which higher-level cognition emerges as a result of self-organizations in
dynamic systems
oLower-level units (sensations, features of a stimulus) interact and organize into higher order units
(a perception, a concept)
The Development of the Multistore Model
oKnowledge base: one’s existing information about a topic or content area
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oAspects of children’s information processing that influence all types of thinking:
The capacity of short-term storage (hardware)
The speed of processing (hardware)
Children’s use of strategies (software)
Children’s understanding of what it means to think (metacognition, or executive
functioning)
Knowledge base
Attention – the process of selecting what stimuli children will bring into or work on
within the information processing system
Developmental Differences in “Hardware”: Information-Processing Capacity
oCapacity within an information-processing system can be expressed by:
Total amount of “space” available to store information
How long information can be retained in a storage unit
How quickly information can be processed
Processing capacity is fundamental predictor of performance in everyday cognitive tasks
Reading and writing skills
oDevelopment of the Short-Term Store
Memory span: measure of the amount of information that can be held in the short-term
store
Refers to the number of rapidly presented and unrelated items that can be
recalled in exact order
Age differences in memory span are highly reliable
Developmental differences on traditional memory span tests may represent age
differences in strategy use rather than age differences in the capacity of the short-term
store
Span of apprehension: the number of items that people can keep in mind at any one time,
or the amount of information that people can attend to at a single time without operating
mentally to store this information
Cowan and colleagues: true developmental difference in the capacity of short term store –
a difference that serves as the foundation for age differences on memory span tasks
Individual and developmental differences in memory span are also influenced by
children’s prior knowledge of the material they are asked to remember
Having a detailed knowledge base for a particular domain facilitates memory
performance for information from that domain but not necessarily for information from
other areas
Ease of item identification: how quickly the child identifies items to be remembered
The speed of item identification is an indication of domain-specific processing efficiency
In domains in which there are no experts, older children tend to process most types of
information faster than younger children and faster processing contributes to larger
memory spans
oChanges on Processing Speeds
Robert Kail finds general developmental changes in processing speed are similar across a
variety of different problems, ranging from simple tasks in which participants must
determine whether the objects in two pictures have the same name to complex mental
arithmetic
Concedes past experiences can influence speed of processing within a particular
domain, but believes maturationally based factors are primarily responsible for
broad age-related differences in speed of information processing
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What maturational developments might underlie age-related changes in processing
speed?
Increased myelination of neurons in the associative areas of the brain and the
elimination of unnecessary neural synapses that could interfere with efficient
information processing are possibilities
Myelinization of most sensory and motor areas of the brain is accomplished within the
first several years of life – myelinization of associative area is complete in young
adulthood or adolescence
Theorists suggest age differences in myelinization are directly responsible for age
differences in speed of information processing and for age differences in the efficient use
of one’s limited mental capacity
Developmental Differences in “Software”: Strategies and Knowledge of “Thinking”
oAge differences in information processing hardware – how much a child can hold in mind at one
time and how quickly she can process information – will clearly influence how effectively a child
can “think”
oPeople possess a variety of cognitive operations they apply to information, and both quantity and
quality of operations change with age
oSome processes are executed automatically – may not even be aware you are thinking
oOthers cognitive processes are more effortful ones – we are quite aware of
o“strategies” can change substantially with age
oThe Development of Strategies
Strategies: goal-directed and deliberately implemented mental operations used to
facilitate task performance
Many strategies are taught in school – math, reading, writing etc.
Younger children use fewer strategies less efficiently than older children
Development of cognitive strategies is very complex
oProduction and Utilization of Deficiencies
Children can be trained to use strategies
Rather than being astrategic or lacking cognitive capacity younger children often display
production deficiencies
Production deficiencies: failure to spontaneously generate and use known strategies that
could improve learning and memory
Acquiring new and more sophisticated strategy does not always lead to dramatic
improvements in task performance or problem solving
Utilization deficiency: failure to benefit from effective strategies that one has
spontaneously produced: thought to occur in the early phases of strategy
acquisition when executing the strategy requires much mental effort
oFound as children acquire new memory strategies – and do not benefit
immediately from use
Why:
oExecuting a novel strategy may require so much mental effort that
children have few cognitive resources left to gather and store
information relevant to the problems they face
oNew strategies are often intrinsically interesting to children – a strategy
may be used to try something new
oYounger children in particular may know less about how to monitor
their cognitive activities and may not even be aware that they are
failing to benefit from using a new strategy
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Document Summary

Information flow and the multistore model: multistore model: information-processing model that depicts information as flowing through three processing units (or stores): the sensory store, the short-term store (sts), and the long-term store (lts) Developed by richard atkinson and richard shiffrin (1968: sensory store (or sensory register): first information-processing store, in which stimuli are noticed and briefly available for further processing. Multistore model"s log-in unit simply holds raw sensory input as kind of an. Separate sensory registers for each sense modality, and thought that they are hold large quantities of information but only for brief periods of time. Contents of sensory stores are volatile and soon disappear without further processing: short-term store (sts): second information-processing store, in which stimuli are retained for several seconds and operated upon (also called working memory) Capacity of sts is sufficient to allow to retain (example) a telephone number for about as long as it takes to dial it unless rehearsed/operated on.

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