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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Information Processing PSY312

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Stuart Kamenetsky

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Chapter 3: Information Processing Theories of Development Klahr, information processing theorist built this model -Daddy will you unlock the basement door? I want to ride my bike -different subgoals that lead her to need the basement door open -the strategy used in this story was means ends analysis: repeatedly comparing one's current stat with one's goal and then taking steps to reduce the distance between them -to overcome limited memory capacities, children use rehearsal -to overcome limited knowledge, they use tools provided by the culture in which they live: dictionaries, encyclopedia, calculators, the internet, adults -there are many different information processing theories but they all share a few basic assumptions -thinking is information processing: focus on the information that children represent, the processes that they apply to the information and the memory limits that constrain the amount of info they can represent and process -cognitive growth is analyzed in terms of age related and experience related changes -info processing analyses generally are more precise than those of stage approaches -precise analysis of change mechanisms -information processing theories attempt to explain both how children of given ages have come a far as they have and why they have not gone further -change is produced by a process of continuous self modification -the outcomes generated b the child's own activities change the way the child will think in the future -children's thinking is viewed as continuously changing at all ages Piaget and IPT differ in important ways: -IPT place greater emphasis on the role of processing limitations, strategies for overcoming the limitations, and knowledge about specific content -also greater emphasis on precise analyses of change and on the contribution of ongoing cognitive activity to that change -they use models on computers -IPT involves details analyses of children's performance on a single task whereas Piaget focuses on a broad range of tasks -IPT assume that our understanding of how children think can be greatly enriched by knowledge of how adults think AN OVERVIEW OFTHE INFORMATION PROCESSING SYSTEM -two basic characteristics of human cognition -our thinking is limited; amount of info we can attend to simultaneously/ speed we process (structural characteristics) -thinking is flexible; capable of adapting to constantly changing goals, circumstances and task demands (processes) Structural Characteristics -basic organization -cognitive architecture -structural features of cognitive system tend to be relatively enduring, same basic organization is believed to be maintained throughout development -they are also universal; though the efficiency with which the diff parts operate varies across individuals and age groups -sensory memory, working memory, and long term memory Sensory Memory -special capacity for briefly retaining pretty large amount of info that they just encountered -Sperling- presented college students 3x4 matrix of letters for one-twentieth of a second. When asked immediately after presentation to name letters, students typically remembered 4 or 5 (40% of list) -changed procedure, he asked them to recall only the letters in one row (impossible to anticipate identity of row, needed to process all 13 letters -however requiring them to recite the contents of only one row eliminated their need to retain info while they named the first few letters -when asked immediately after, recalled 80% -1/3 second later, only 55% -1 second after, 40% -one twentieth of a second exposure was sufficient for letters to create a visual icon but that icon faded within on third of a second and disappeared after a second -capacity of children's sensory memory appears to increase with development -Cowan and colleagues, participants asked to play attention demanding computer game while listening to lists of spoken digits with short intervals of silence between lists, once every 13 lists asked to report the most recent list of digits- recall from auditory sensory memory -1st graders- 2.5, 4th graders- 3, adults- 3.5 Working Memory -active thinking occurs -combining info coming into sensory memory with info stored in LTM and transforming that info into new forms -limited in several ways: -capacity, number of units it can operate at one time (3-7 units) -the limit on working memory capacity is a limit on the number of meaningful units (chunks) that can be operated on, rather than on the number of physical units (a letter, number, familiar phrase is a single chunk)- easier to remember (hit, run, cup) than (r, t, y) -the rate at which info is lost from working memory also limits cognitive functioning (15-30 seconds)- words or numbers with rehearsal can remain for a longer time -the faster that both adults and children can rehearse verbal material, the more material they can maintain in WM -rate of pronunciation of words is closely related to the number of words that can be maintained in WM -separate storage capacities for verbal and spatial info -information from the verbal and spatial subsystem is integrated and coordinated with information from long term memory in a work space termed the "episodic buffer" -the development of WM appears to involve both changes in the amount of verbal and spatial info of each type that can be remembered and increasingly effective separation b/w the two -spatial and verbal info are represented separately in WM -not until age 10 do children clearly separate verbal from spatial info in WM -there are also developmental changes in the executive processes that control the content and functioning of WM, such as the ability to inhibit attention to particular sources of info (ex: organize cards based on colour) Long Term Memory -episodic memory: experiences, facts about the world, their feeling at an event -semantic knowledge: enduring qualities of the world; a nickel is worth 5 pennies -procedural knowledge: how to ride a bike -unlike sensory and WM there are no limits on either how much info can be maintained or how long the info can stay there -store info in separable unit and can retrieve some units without retrieving others (ex tip of the tongue phenomenon) -children retrieve info from LTM by recalling several characteristics Processes -used to actively manipulate info in sensory, working and LTM -two processes play particularly important roles in cognitive development are automatization and encoding The Role of Automatization -processes vary in how much attention they require -controlled: require a lot of attention -automatic: require little or no attention -amount of attention required is influenced both by the type of ino being processed and by the amount of experience the child has had processing that type of material -practice reduces that amount of time needed -provides an initial basis for learning about the world -frequency information: how often various objects and vents have been encountered; level of recall is the same over a wide age range -automatic processing of frequency info (learning concept bird, learning same animal flies, has feathers, has a beak etc) - acquire info automatically and then base their behaviour on what they have observed -processing of frequency information appears to be automatic from early in development Automatization: -once skills are learned to a sufficiently high degree, they are difficult to inhibit even when it is advantageous to do so -easy single digit addition problems are automatized quite early in learning, but that it takes several years before harder ones are -automatization is useful because it frees mental resources for solving other problems -depending on the circumstance, automatization can be either harmful or helpful ex: position of equal sign in addition problem 3+4+5= 3+ _ The Role of Encoding -children often fail to encode important features of objects and events, because they do not know what is important or how to encode it properly -failure to encode critical elements can limit the effects of potentially useful experiences -expectations influence their encoding of what they saw (train and ball dropping example) -encoding plays important role in both developmental and individual differences in the first year of life (ex: infants become bored with looking at an object after taking in all its relevant info) -more intelligent infants are quicker to encode everything of interest about the picture, leading them to be the first to lose interest in it Information Processing Theories of Development Neo-Piagetian Theories -maintain the strengths of Piaget's approach while adding the strengths of information processing approaches. -emphasis on goals, working memory limitations, and problem solving strategies typical of IPT. -greatest emphasis on biologically based growth of working memory and automatization of processing allow children to progressively overcome processing limits Robin Case -Developmental stages themselves and the transition processes that produce progress between stages -he also believed children progress through four developmental stages -mental representations and operations children can form while they are in them 1. Sensorimotor operations: -representations composed of sensory input, and the actions they produce in response to these representations are physical movement -seeing a frightening face (sensory) and fleeing from the room (motor) 2. Representational Operations -children's representations include concrete internal images, and their actions can produce additional internal representations -child producing mental image of the same face and using the image to draw a picture of it 3. Logical Operations -represent stimuli abstractly, can act on them with simple transformations -child realizing two of his friends didn't like each other and telling them that they could have more fun if they were all friends 4. Formal Operations Stage - also represent stimuli abstractly but they are capable of performing complex transformations of the information -realize that such direct attempts at producing friendships rarely succeed, lead into a situation that involves obstacle where they need to work together -like Piaget, Case postulates broad unities in the developmental sequence across different concepts -claims that much of children's thinking is organized into central conceptual structures -internal network of concepts and conceptual relations which play a central role in permitting children to think about a wide range of (but not all) situations at a new epistemic level -three main central
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