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Chapter 9

PSYB32H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Connectionism, Memory Span, Long-Term Memory


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB32H3
Professor
Mark Schmuckler
Chapter
9

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CHAPTER 9 COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: THE INFORMATION- PROCESSING
APPROACH
INFORMATION PROCESSING THORY
-the human cognition system is like a computer
-primary quality is its flexibility
-two main limitations are the amount of information that it can possess at one time and
the speed with which is processes this information
-vast problem solving potential
Basic Assumptions of the Information- Processing Model
-first, thinking is information processing
-second, assumption that there are mechanisms or processes of change that underlie the
processing of information
-assumes that cognitive development is a self- modifying process; that the child uses
strategies she has acquired from earlier problem solutions to modify her responses to a
new problem
-assumption that careful task analysis is crucial; that the task itself influences the child’s
own level of development
-error analysis: attending to errors made
-analysis on this is called microgenetic analysis: a very detailed examination of how a
child solves a problem
Information- Processing Models
The Multi-Store Model
-describes how information enters and flows through the mind as it is processed
-many steps; helpful diagram on page 342 fig. 9.1
-first get input from environment
-then goes to sensory register: info is stored in original form but very briefly; 1 second,
doesn’t change over development
-then goes to short term (working) memory: info in the sensory is transformed (or
encoded) into a mental representation and placed in here; without effort info is lost within
30 sec; can use rehearsal to keep it longer
-then goes to long term memory: knowledge that is retained for a long period of time; in
there for an indefinite period of time
Connectionist Models
-describes mental processes in terms of the interconnections of the neural network
-parallel distributed processing
-interested in how these neural connections are organized, how they change over the
course of development and how different connections are activated as the child thinks
and solves problems
Neo- Piagetian Information- Processing Models
-attempt to integrate Piaget’s ideas with that of an information- processing perspective
-Robbie Case divides development into 4 stages

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-each stage entails an executive control structure: mental blueprint or plan for solving a
class of problems
-has three components: representation of the problem, representation of the goal
of the problem, and representation of a strategy for attaining the goal
-four stages listed on page 344 table 9.1
Cognitive Processes: What are They? How Do They Contribute to Development?
Encoding and Representation
-we only encode (or change into mental representations) if the info we take in is relevant
-mental representation: term used to describe information that is stored mentally in some
form; it depends on the child’s understanding that one thing can stand for or “represent”
something else
-representation called a script: reflects a particular event or series of events that are based
on common experiences of daily life; used to understand new events and to generate
predictions about how those events will unfold
Strategies
-are conscious cognitive or behavioural activities that are used to enhance mental
performance
-main purpose of strategy is to decrease the load on the child’s information- processing
system by increasing the efficiency of each process and thus freeing up time for tasks
necessary for solving the problem
Automatization
-involves making behaviours that once were conscious and controlled in to unconscious
and automatic ones
-like learning to drive standard or riding a bike
Generalization
-the application of a strategy learned while solving a problem in one situation to a similar
problem in a new situation
The Roles of the Executive Control Process and the Knowledge Base in Information
Processing
-the executive control process guides the child in the selection and use of such strategies
that are most effective for the task at hand
-the child’s knowledge base plays a large part in their ability to process information and
solve problems
-in the chess players experiment, it was found that young chess players recalled more
chess-piece moves than adults, and they needed less trials than adults to reach perfect
recall
DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGES IN SOME SIGNIFICANT COGNITIVE ABILITIES
-consider the abilities linked to information- processing approach; all discussed below
1)Attention
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-identification and selection of particular sensory input for more detailed processing
-hard to control their attention when they are young
Control of Attention
-children as young as 42 months (3 ½ years) may be less distractible when an activity
fully engages their attention
-distraction can sometimes facilitate children’s performance
-turning points table pg 349 summarizes
Learning to Attend to What Is Relevant
-to learn, child must learn the strategy of selective attention, ignoring irrelevant features
in the environment
-processing of irrelevant information increases slightly until 11/12 then declines
-overall children show increasing efficiency in how they use attention in processing
information
Attention and Planning
-older children have better attentional skills because they develop a plan of action to
guide their attention as they solve problems
-planning
-study by Elaine Vurpillot; choosing which houses are identical (different pictures in the
windows); found that younger children looked randomly at the windows and made
judgments without even looking at windows that were different
-planning is often done in social situations
-learning about the thinking of another appears to enhance the child’s own understanding
of the problem
2)Memory
-memory & knowledge are interchangeable
-short term (working) and long term
-semantic memory: factual info; like knowing about the history of a town
-episodic memory: memory for specific events; like your birthday; typically
autobiographical
-act of remembering can be intentional or non intentional
-usually nonintential; like already knowing how to speak when you open your mouth to
talk
-intentional memory, or explicit memory, require effort to store and retrieve
-rehearsal, organization, and elaboration all help
-three areas of memory that improve with development are listed below
1)Basic Capacities
-include the amount of info that can be held in working memory (memory span) etc
Memory Span
-memory span for numbers is about 8 for uni students, 6-7n for 12 year olds, and 4 for 5
year olds
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