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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

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Western University
Psychology 2990A/B
Doug Hazlewood

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 receive • 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 environment • 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 event • 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 • 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 beneficial • 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 seconds • 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 memory • 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 • Moving Information to Long-Term Memory: Connecting New Information with Prior Knowledge • the process of storing new information in long-term memory usually involved drawing on ʻoldʼ information already stored there; it uses prior knowledge • The Nature of Long-Term Memory • long-term memory: component of the memory that holds knowledge and skills for a relatively long period of time • 3 characteristics: long duration, unlimited capacity, rich network of interconnections • (Indefinitely) Long Duration • some psychologists believe that information may slowly ʻweakenʼ and possibly disappear if the information is not used regularly • others believe that once it is stored in long-term memory, it is there permanently but is simply difficult to retrieve • Unlimited Capacity • no running out of room for new information • Interconnectedness • related pieces of information in your long-term memory are often connected with one another - concept map • it is important to define the links or connections between concepts - the stronger and descriptive the link will produce a higher quality of concept links - in a concept map, pairs of concepts can be more or less strongly linked, and the description of the link can be more or less complete and detailed. • when creating a map, the quality of concept links is just as important as the well-chosen concepts. • Critiquing the Three-Component Model • Paivio and his colleagues proposed that working and long-term memory are not separate components but instead simply reflect different activation states of a single memory • activation: the degree to which a particular piece of information in memory is currently being attended to and mentally processed • based on this view, all information in memory is either in an active or inactive state • most information in the memory is in an inactive state - we are not consciously aware of it - this is the information in the long-term memory • the three-component model highlights the importance of attention and limited capacity and the interconnectedness of knowledge Long-Term Memory Storage • The Various Forms of Knowledge • information stored in memory is in different forms (ie. visual, auditory, etc) • declarative knowledge: knowledge that declares how things are • procedural knowledge: knowledge that concerns how to do things • procedural knowledge must include on how to respond under different circumstances • How Declarative Knowledge is Learned • 5 processes that people use in storing declarative information in long-term memory: rehearsal, meaningful learning, organization, elaboration, and visual imagery • Rehearsal •rehearsal: cognitive process in which information is repeated over and over as a possible way of learning and remembering it • this is called maintenance rehearsal in working memory •main disadvantage of rehearsal is that we make few connections only with prior knowledge we already know - we engage in rote learning - learning info through repetitio
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