Cognitive Development Part 1: Information-Processing Model

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What is the primary function of working memory according to the information-processing model?

Actively holding and using information to problem-solve, make decisions, and learn new information

How does working memory's capacity change with age?

Working memory capacity significantly declines with age, but this decline is greater for spatial working memory than verbal working memory

What is the role of rehearsal in working memory?

Rehearsal helps keep information in working memory

How does working memory relate to age-related declines in other cognitive abilities?

Age-related declines in working memory are related to declines in storage capacity, information processing, and divided attention abilities

How does working memory's role in the information-processing model compare to long-term memory's role?

Working memory plays a more active and critical role than long-term memory in the information-processing model

Which type of working memory is more affected by age-related declines according to the information provided?

Spatial working memory is more affected by age-related declines than verbal working memory

How does working memory's capacity compare to long-term memory's capacity?

Long-term memory has a significantly larger capacity than working memory

What is the role of working memory in the encoding, storage, and retrieval processes according to the information-processing model?

Working memory plays an active and critical role in encoding, storage, and retrieval

How does the information-processing model describe the relationship between working memory and long-term memory?

Working memory and long-term memory are interconnected, with working memory actively using information from long-term memory

How does the information-processing model account for individual differences in working memory performance?

The information-processing model indicates that working memory performance can be counterbalanced by greater working knowledge in some situations

Study Notes

Information-Processing Model

  • Uses a computer metaphor to explain how people process stimuli
  • Based on three assumptions: people are active participants, both quantitative and qualitative aspects of performance can be examined, and information is processed through a series of hypothetical stages or processes

Sensory Memory

  • A brief and almost identical representation of the stimuli that exists in the observable environment
  • Large capacity, brief retention (typically 1 second or less)
  • Generally no age differences in sensory memory

Attention: Speed of Processing

  • How quickly and efficiently the early steps in information processing are completed
  • In aging: evidence indicates age-related slowing depends on what adults are being asked to do and task difficulty
  • Amount of beta-amyloid protein in CNS is related to the slowing of processing speed

Attention: Processing Resources

  • The amount of attention one has to apply to a particular situation
  • Two possible reasons for decline in processing with age: inhibitory loss and attentional changes
  • Older adults may have trouble inhibiting the processing of irrelevant information
  • Task familiarity vs. ability to block out irrelevant info: performance improves with practice

Automatic and Effortful Processing

  • Automatic processing: places minimal demands on attentional capacity, extremely difficult to change
  • Effortful processing: requires all available attentional capacity
  • Performance on tasks relying on automatic processes do not show significant age differences
  • Age differences are observed in effortful processing tasks

Memory Processes

  • The ability to retain knowledge
  • Part of a continuum of information processing with both bottom-up and top-down processing

Memory Processes: Working Memory

  • Working memory: actively holding and using information to problem-solve, make decisions, and learn new information
  • Active and critical role in encoding, storage, and retrieval
  • WM has a relatively small capacity, managing only a few items at a time
  • Rehearsal helps keep information in WM
  • Significantly declines with age, but varies by information and task
  • Related to declines in storage capacity, information processing, and divided attention abilities
  • Age-related declines are not universal; they are greater for spatial WM than verbal WM
  • Greater working knowledge can counterbalance declines in WM in some situations

Memory Processes: Long-Term Memory

  • Long-term memory: aspects of memory involved in remembering extensive amounts of information over time, ranging from seconds to decades

Explore the Information-Processing Model in cognitive development, which uses a computer metaphor to explain how people process stimuli and is based on three key assumptions. Learn about sensory memory, stages of processing, and more in this lecture.

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