Information processing approach- a perspective on cognition and cognitive development in
which the human mind is likened to a computer, processing information from the environment
through perception and attention (input), encoding it in memory (storage and retrieval), and
applying information to the solution of problems (software).
A primary quality of human cognition system is flexibility. However, two main limitations:
amount of info that can be processed at one time and the speed of processing info. Computer can
process info much faster than human mind, but computer has singular design and solves only
specific types of problems in specific programmed way, human mind is more flexible and
considers broad ranges of factors, which is why it takes much longer. Overall human mind has
lots of potential.
Four basic assumptions about info processing (Siegler and Alibali): 1. Thinking is info
processing- mental activity involves taking in info to mind and operating on it to make it usable.
Questions about attention and memory and how it changes with age are the main concepts of this
assumption. 2. Mechanisms/processes of change that underlie the processing of information-
children getting better at encoding info is a mechanism and helps solve problems better. 4 key
mechanisms of info processing are encoding, strategy construction, automatization, and
generalization. 3. Cognitive development is self modifying process- child uses strategies from
earlier problem solutions to modify responses to new problems. 4. Careful task analysis is
analysis- a very detailed examination of how a child solves a problem over a single learning
episode or over several episodes that occur close in time.
3 Info processing Models and approaches:
Multi-store model- a model of info processing in which info is depicted as moving through a
series of processing units-sensory register, short term memory, and long term memory-in each of
which it may be stored, either fleetingly or permanently.
Sensory register- the mental processing unit that receives info from the environment and stores it
fleetingly. This is the first step and info stored in raw form (visually, aurally and very briefly/1
second, stays the same through age except for auditory sensory storage across infancy/childhood)
Short term memory/working memory- the mental processing unit in which info may be stored
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transfer it to permanent storage in long term memory. It is the second step in which info is
transformed/encoded into a mental representation in storage. Without rehearsal or effort, this info
is lost in 15-30 seconds. Faster rehearsal with age= more storage.
Long term memory- The mental processing unit in which information (about objects, events,
rules, types of problems and ways to solve them) may be stored permanently and from which it
may later be retrieved. Stores all strategies too. Memory improves with age- you can pronounce
more words faster and remember more words as you get older.
Connectionist Models- info processing approaches that describe mental processes in terms of the
interconnections of the neural network. These models emphasize biological components of info
processing (Neural Networks). info is described as elaborate set of neural connections and
thinking is processing the info as it spreads throughout the network. (this is also called parallel