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Chapter 7

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Psychology 2410A/B
Sandra Hessels

Cognitive Development An InformationProcessing PerspectiveThe Information Processing Approachmost informationprocessing theorists view the mind as a complex symbolmanipulating system through which information from the environment flows first information is encoded then a variety of internal processes operate on it recording it or revising its symbolic structure into a more effective representation and then decoding it or interpreting its meaning by comparing and combing it with other information in the system when these cognitive operations are complete individuals use the information to make sense of their experiences and to solve problemsGeneral Models of Information ProcessingThe Store Modelthe store model of the informationprocessing system assumes that we hold or store information in three parts of the mental system for processing the sensory register working or shortterm memory and longterm memory as information flows through each we can use mental strategies to operate on and transform it increasing the chances that we will retain information use it efficiently and think flexibly adapting the information to changing circumstancesComponents of the Store Modelinformation enters the sensory register here sights and sounds are represented directly and stored briefly Working or shortterm memorywe actively apply mental strategies as we work on a limited amount of information the sensory register though limited can take in a wide panorama of information the capacity of working memory is more restricted by meaningfully connecting pieces of information into a single representation we reduce the number of separate pieces we must attend to thereby making room in working memory for more the more thoroughly we learn information the more automatically we use it automatic processing expands working memory by enabling us to focus on additional information simultaneously To manage its complex activities a special part of working memorythe central executivedirects the flow of information it decides what to attend to coordinates incoming information with information already in the system and selects applies and monitors strategies the central executive is the conscious reflective part of our mental system it works closely with working memory to direct such complex activities as comprehension reasoning and problem solving The longer we hold information in working memory the more likely it will transfer to the third and largest storage arealongterm memory our permanent knowledge base unlimited we store so much in longterm memory that retrievalgetting information back from the systemcan be problematic to aid retrieval we apply strategies just as we do in working memory information in longterm memory is categorized by its contents
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