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Chapter 5

Psychology 2990A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Long-Term Memory, Descriptive Knowledge, Procedural Knowledge

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Doug Hazlewood

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Psych 2990A
Chapter 5: Psychology and Education
Basic Assumptions of Cognitive Psychology
cognitive psychology: a theoretical perspective that focuses on the mental
processes underlying human learning and behaviour
cognitive processes influence what is learned.
how people think about and interpret their experiences affects what they learn from
those experiences
information processing theory: a theoretical perspective that focuses on the specific
ways in which individuals mentally think about and ʻprocessʼ the information they
people learn new information more easily when they can relate it to something they
already know - people also learn new info more easily when they can relate it to an
overall organizational structure
students are selective about what they process and learn
important to distinguish between sensation and perception
meaning is constructed by the learner, rather than being derived directly from the
construction: a mental process in which a learner takes many separate pieces of
information and uses them to build an overall understanding or interpretation of an
some cognitive theories focus on the ways that learners construct knowledge - these
theories are called constructivisim - proposes that leaners construct a body of
knowledge from their experiences which may not be an accurate representation of
external reality
prior knowledge and beliefs play a major role in the meanings that people construct
students are actively involved in their own learning
they are not passive creatures that just simply ʻabsorbʼ
Basic Terminology in Cognitive Psychology
4 concepts: memory, storage, encoding, retrieval
memory: a learnerʼs ability to save something (mentally) that he or she has previously
learned, or the mental ʻlocationʼ where such information is saved.
storage: the process of ʻputtingʼ new information into memory - acquisition
encoding: changing the format of new information as it is being stored in memory
retrieval: the process of ʻfindingʼ information previously stored in memory
A Model of Human Memory
cognitive psychologists believe that memory has 3 components: a sensory register, a
working (short-term) memory, and a long-term memory
we are not necessarily referring to 3 separate parts of the brain
The Nature of Sensory Register

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sensory register: a component of memory that holds incoming information in an
unanalyzed form for a very brief period of time (probably less than a second for
visual input and two or three seconds for auditory input)
receives input
Moving Information to Working Memory: The Role of Attention
first step in making information memorable is attention - the focusing of mental
processes on a particular environmental stimuli
students can only attend to a certain amount of information at any one time -
attention is a limited capacity
only a small amount of information in oneʼs sensory register ever moves on to the
working memory
Attention in the Classroom
attention is just not a behaviour but also a mental process
students are more likely to keep their minds on instruction or on an assignment
if they know that they will be immediately tested on it
putting new information into use and taking notes while learning can help
having students reconstruct (as a complement to note taking) - creating notes
from classes or other events in oneʼs own words without consulting original
notes and then revising them or comparing them with othersʼ notes - can help
enhance learning
having students make up questions about the class content or readings and
then asking each other in pairs and evaluating each other answers can also be
this is an application of the ʻlearning cellʼ - teacher and students share the
role of constructing new knowledge
taking breaks will help refresh oneʼs attention and learning capacity
The Nature of Working (Short-Term) Memory
working memory: a component of memory that holds and processes limited
amount of information; aka short-term memory; duration of storage is about 5-20
where most of thinking and cognitive processes occur
working memory has several components for each type of information (ie. visual,
auditory, etc) - where we interpret new information
generally speaking, this part of memory does the most work
Short Duration
in order for you to retain information in your working memory, one has to work
or put an effort
maintenance rehearsal: repeating information to oneself to retain it in working
information in the working memory stays in there for less than half a minute
unless it is processed further
Limited Capacity
working memory does not have unlimited capacity to hold all the information it
wants to
Gagne: estimated that students likely learn about one to six new ideas from
each minute of a lecture
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