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ch 9 B20.odt

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Diane Mangalindan

CHAPTER 9: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT: THE INFORMATION PROCESSING APPROACH -information processing approach views humans as possessing an array of cognitive processes that help them to understand and make use of the information they get from their experiences in the world -neo-Piagetian approach proposes that the stage-related changes that Piaget described are brought about by changes in the ways children process information INFORMATION-PROCESSING THEORY -information-processing approach: a perspective on cognition and cognitive development in which the human mind is likened to a computer, processing info from the env through perception and attention (input), encoding it in memory (storage and retrieval), and applying information to the solution of problems (software) -primary of human mind is its flexibility—thinking can be adapted to many situations >however, two limitations exist: the amount of info that it can process at one tim and the speed w which it can process info -there are 4 assumptions abt this approach Basic Assumptions of the Information-Processing Approach 1: thinking is information processing—mental activity involves taking information into the mind and operating on it in ways that make is usable 2: there are mechanisms or processes of change that underlie the processing of information—w development, children become better able to represent or encode information in their minds, and this mechanisms helps them solve problems more effectively >4 main mechanisms: encoding, strategy construction, automatization, and generalization 3: cognitive development is a self-modifying process—child uses strategies she has acquired from earlier problem solutions to modify her responses to a new problem thus they play an active role in cognitive development 4: careful analysis is crucial—in addition to the child's own level of development, the task or problem situation itself influences the child's cognitive performance >careful task analysis + accurate observation of a child's performance can reveal much about how children of diff ages understand and solve problems—often involves error analysis or attending to the errors children make which relies on a method called microgenetics analysis: a very detailed examination of how a child solves a problem Information-processing Models -several models are used to explain info-processing perspective: multi-store model, connectionist models, and neo-Piagetian model The Multi-Store Model -multi-store model: a model of information processing in which information is depicted as moving through a series of processing units—sensory register, short-term memory, long-term memory—in each of which it may be stored, either fleetingly or permanently -initial step: acquire inf from env thru sensory register:the mental processing unit that receives information from the env and stores it fleetingly >stored in original form (visually, sounds aurally...etc) but this storage is v brief -next, info from sensory register is transformed or encoded into mental representations and placed into storage area referred to as short-term memory or working memory: the mental processing unit in which info may be stored temporarily; the “workspace” of the mind, where a decision must be made to discard information or to transfer it to permanent storage in LTM >limited to amount of chunks that can be held and how long it can hold this ino w/ active effort to retain data—w/o effort, such as rehearsal, we lose info from STM w/in 15 to 30 seconds—valuable b/c it allows us to respond to continuous flow of information -long-term memory: the mental processing unity in which information may be stored permanently and from which it may later be retrieved >contains info about general stuff about the world >it also stores the strategies for building new knowledge (i.e., encoding, representing, and retaining information) Connectionist Models -connectionist models: information-processing approaches that describe mental processes in terms of the interconnections of the neural network -information described as an elaborate set of neural connections & thinkinking which involves processing of info as it spreads throughout the network, or what is referred to as parallel distributed processing -researchers interested in how neural connections are organized, how they change over the course of development and how diff connections are activated as a child thinks and solves problems Neo-Piagetian Information-processing Models -theories of cognitive development that reinterpret Piaget's concepts from an information-processing perspective -the proponents of one of these theories, the stage-like development of cognition is based on improvements in memory capacity and executive control (2 features of info-processing system) -development divided into 4 stages, w/ each stage entailing a sophisticated executive control structure which is mental blueprint or plan for solving a class of problems—with it, there are three components: a representation of the problem, a representation of the goal of the problem, and a representation of a strategy for attaining the goal Examples of Mental Representations and Operations Sensorimotor Control Structures (Birth to 1 1/2 Achild sees a frightening face (sensory) and runs years) of the room (motor) infants' mental representations are linked to their physical movement. Their executive control structures are combinations of physical objects and motor actions Relational Control Structures (1 1/2 to 5 Years) The child produces a mental image of the Children's representations include knowledge of frightening face (representation) he saw the day relationships among objects, ppl, and events. They before and draws a picture of it (acting on also include durable, concrete internal images on representation) which they can act. Children's executive control structures now include cause-and-effect statemensts and explicity goal structures Dimensional Control Structures (5 to 11 Years) Achild may realize that two friends dont like each Children begin to extract significant dimensions other (abstract representation) and may tell them from the physical world. They become able to use that they could all have fun if they were all friends logical processes in comparing two dimensions, (simple transformation) such as distance, number, and weight. They can represent stimuli abstractly and can act on these representations w simple transformations Abstract Control Structures (11 to 18 1/2 The child may realize that such direct attempts to Years) create friendships rarely succeed (abstract building on the dimensional control structures of representation) and, so, may not tell her friends the preceding stage, children begin to use abstract what she proposed by instead plan activities in systems of thought that allow them to perform which they will all engage w the hope that greater higher-order reasoning tasks and more complex familiarity and contact will produce the desired transformations of information friendship (complex transformation) Cognitive Processes: What are they? How do they contribute to development? -cognitive processes: the mechanisms or ways that the human mental system operates on information -therefore, information-processing perspective is focused on gradual and qunatitative changes in mental functioning Encoding and Representation -encoding: the transformation of info from the environment into a lasting mental representation -mental representation: info stored in some form (e.g., verbal, pictorial, procedural) in the cognitive system after the person has encountered it in the env -researchers proposed that changes in the type and complexity of mental representations underlie much of cognitive development—particular interest is in scripts which reflects a particular event or series of events that are based on common experiences of daily life and are used to understand new events and to general predictions abt how these events will unfold Strategies -most impo changes that occur children's thinking over childhood -strategies: conscious cognitive or behavioural activities that are used to enahnce mental performance -main purpose of using strategies is to decrease the load on the child's information-processing system by increasing the efficiency of each process and thus freeing up space for the various tasks necessary for solving the problem Automatization -automatization: the process of transforming conscious, controlled behaviours into unconscious and automatic ones Generalization -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 -executive controll process: a cognitive process that serves to control, guide, and monitor the success of a problem-solving approach a child uses >b/w ages 3 – 12, brain systems that develop, in part, changes in prefrontal cortex-- are central to the development of the executive control process -one critical feature of information-processing is role of knowledge >a child's base knowledge (his familiarity w domain or type of problem he is trying to solve) plays a major role in his abilities to process info and solve problems -expertise can enhance cognitive processing in children in a familiar domain but this expertise does not influence performance in other domains DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGES IN SOME SIGNIFICANT COGNITIVEABILITIES -cognitive abilities play an imp role in how info is organized and operated on Attention -the identification and selection of particular sensory input for more detailed processing Control of Attention -over first few years of life, the duration of attention increases and distractibility decreases -children as young as 42 months of age may be less distractible when an activity full engages their attention Learning to Attend to What is Relevant -as a prereq to learning, child must acquire strategy of selective attention in which a person focuses on some features of the environment and ignores others -shifts of selective attention are evident as early as 2 to 3 months of age -in school years, children can improve markedly in ability to focus attention on relevant info -children steadily increase their attention to relevant information, but their concern w irrelevant info weakens and drops off quickly after junior high school Attention and Planning -w development, the ability to attend selectively combines w planning, which is the deliberate organization of a sequence of actions oriented toward achieving a goal, and enables the child to solve increasingly more complex problems -planning is often done in social situations >to explore social contributions to the development of planning, Gauvain and Rogoff used a model grocery store to compare the planning behaviour of 5 – and 9 years old working w a peer, adult, or alone. The olderchildren were better at planning ahead, and the children who planned in advance of action devised more efficient routes. Children were more likely to use attentional strategies and plan efficiently when they work w a peer or adult esp when artners shared task responsibilities. Sharing responsibility for carrying out a task helps children understand the problem from the perspective of another person. Memory -everything you know, you remember in some way—therefore the terms memory and knowledge are interchangeable -long term memory encompasses semantic memory which is all the world knowledge and facts a person possesses & also includes episodic memory which is memory for specific events, often autobiographical in nature -act of remembering can be intentional or unintentional >much of everyday experience involve unintentional memory -however intentional memory (called explicit memory) requires effort to store and retrieve -three areas of memory that improve w development are: basic capacities, strategies that enhance memory and world knowledge Basic Capacities -basic memory capacity includes the amount of information that can be held in working memory called memory span; the efficeincy of memory processing and the speed of this processing Memory Span -memory span: the amount of info one can hold in short-term memory -the amount of info a person can keep in STM at any one time is limited but the limit changes w development -study findings demonstrate that interest or motivation plays a role in memory span, and capacity changes may not be necessary to explain changes associated w age -another explanation for older children's and adults' greater memory span is that they use one or more strategies that help them organize such info in a way that facilitates remembering it Processing Efficiency -w/ practice, some memory processing becomes automatic and as a result, space in working memory becomes available to work on other problems or strategies -Robbie Case proposes that one of the imp development changes in basic memory is that the memory system or what he calls executive processing space becomes more efficient –increased efficiency attributed to two factors: streamlining of executive control structures (e.g., automatization or chunking) and biological maturation such as changes in the myelination of the axons of neurons in such a way as to increase the efficiency of neural firing and the efficiency of brain function Processing Speed -processing speed which is often assessed by reaction time is the time it takes an individual to carry out a given mental act -it is connected w processing efficiency—the more efficient a process, the quicker it is -speed of processing increases w age from childhood to adulthood -developmental changes in processing speed are similar for tasks that are v different from one another -bc we see developmental changes in processing speeds in many diff tasks w widely varying task components and requirements suggests that change in processing speed is not simply due to practice -it is also not due to practive Memory Strategies -memory strategies are deliberate procedures that help poeple carry out memory-related tasks -the ability to store and retrieve info efficiently from LTM also relies on strategies Rehearsal -rehearsal: a memory strategy in which one repeats
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