Information Processing Theory Glossary

Chapter 9

1. Memory: Related to the ability to recall previously acquired information. The word memory refers to the process of retaining information for a period of time. In other instance, it refers to a particular “location” (working or long-term) where acquired information is kept.

2. Sensory register: Sensory register is the first component of the dual-store model. It holds incoming information long enough for it to undergo very preliminary cognitive processing. There are three characteristics of the sensory register: Capacity (it has a very large capacity); forms of storage (information is stored in the same form it was sensed – visual in visual form, auditory in auditory, etc.); and duration (Information remains in the sensory register for only a very brief time but measuring its exact duration is difficult).

 3. Working memory: Also called short-term memory, it is a storage mechanism that holds information for a brief time after it’s attendee to so it can be mentally processed. It is where cognitive processing takes place. It is the component of memory in which active thinking occurs, the “awareness” or “consciousness” of the memory system.  It identifies information in the sensory register that warrants attention, saves the information for a longer period of time, and processes it further.  Characteristics are capacity (very limited); forms of storage (encoded to an auditory form especially when the information is language based), and duration (short).  

4. Long-term memory:  the content that relates to the nature of how things are, were, or will be – knowledge referred to as declarative knowledge. It also includes procedural knowledge- knowledge about how to do things. Its capacity is larger than working memory , being unlimited, information is encoded in a variety of ways such as language, sensory images and nonverbal abstractions and meanings  Some say the information stays permanently and it simply needs to be retrieved while others believe it can disappear through a variety of forgetting processes. 

Chapter 10

5. Explicit versus implicit knowledge: Explicit knowledge is what people an easily recall and explain while implicit knowledge affects people’s behavior even when they cannot consciously retrieve it and inspect it. Implicit knowledge is often where whether have no conscious awareness about what we’ve learned something even though knowledge clearly influence out action.

6. Encoding: Knowledge is encoded into memory in terms of physical characteristics, actions, in symbols, and of meanings.  We might encode things we hear see, smell, etc., help us to remember what we have seen. It creates imagery in our mind based on our senses.  Gestures can be encoded as a physical characteristic, but they can also be encoded as an action.  The mental representations of particular movement of the arms, hands, legs, neck, etc.  Encoding can also occur in terms of symbols – a representation of the object or event, often without bearing much resemblance to what it stands for. We can store information in verbal codes, or actual words. Overall, though we are in the long-term likely to remember the meaning or gist of something we hear or see. And are encoded as propositions which can be separated into arguments and have single relations.

7. Concept learning: A concept is a mental grouping of objects or events that are similar is some way. Concrete concepts are easily identified by physical appearance, while some are abstract that nave underlying similarities not easily observed on the surface.  People learn certain features that are importance in learning concepts – defining features, the characteristics that might be present in all positive instance, and correlational features – features frequently found in positive instances but are not needed for concept membership.  Some features re irrelevant and can be disregarded.  People learn concepts as a response to a variety of stimuli.  There is a relatively passive buildup of associations that may form the basis of some concepts.  In older children and adults, there is typically a more cognitively active buildup of knowledge.

8. Schema/scripts: Schemas refer to a closely connected set of ideas (including concepts) related to a specific object or event. Schemas influence how we perceive and remember new situations. Scripts are event schemas that surround what we think about events, such as a visit to the doctor’s office, and influence our interpretation of things we read and hear.

Chapter 11

9. Retrieval: Retrieval of information can be an unconscious occurrence but mostly often it is a conscious effortful process. How effective we are at retrieving information depends on how effective we stored the information. Retrieval is easier when learners engage in encoding specificity which is when learners engage in thought processes similar to those they previously used when storing the information. Retrieval is a process of spreading activation with the activation slowing through connections within the network of stored information. Retrieval cues (hints about where to find something).   There are also identity cue, associate cue and contextual cues.

10. Forgetting: Over time people recall less and less about the vents they have experienced and the information they have acquired.  Information gradually decays and disappears from memory altogether. Decay is common when the information is rarely or never used. Inhibition and interference are both major causes of forgetting verbal information. There is also retrieval induced forgetting where you force yourself not to remember something (usually an incorrect fact0 in an attempt to remember something else (the correct fact). Sometime people repress memories that are traumatizing to them or that produce anxiety. In repressing one memory, their memories associated with this memory and with anxiety are often also prepressed. Sometimes we also forget to retrieve important information that has to do with getting something done, called prospective memory. We also often to forget most of everything that happened before the age of 3, called infantile amnesia.


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