Information Processing and Cognitive Development Information processing is a perspective (approach) to the study of cognition and cognitive development in which the mind is likened to a computer. However, rather than focusing on mere input and output, psychologists who adhere to this approach place specific emphasis on the processes of cognitive development. Cognitive perspectives examine development in terms of mental processing. The two major views within this subject are cognitive developmental theory and information processing theory. Theorists claim that our cognitive processes are like that of a computer.
They have used this as a model to break down the process of the human thinking processes and cognitive performance. When you receive some stimuli through your senses, your brain puts this information into the sensory store. Then the information is placed into short term memory. If the information is not encoded from short term memory to long term memory, the information is lost. However, once in long term memory the information is ready for retrieval (Cook). It is important to understand some of the key assumptions of this approach, including the emphasis on, the role of the knowledge base in cognitive development; the conceptualization of thinking as involving distinct processes executed over time, and the ways in which change in the system can occur (Miller).
It is a fact that as children get older they are able to process more information and process it faster than younger children. Processing capacity is the amount of information a person can remember or think about ay one time. Researchers measure it by representing a series of information very quickly and counting how many items a person can remember in exact order this changes in processing capacity help explain age differences on many kinds of cognitive tasks (learned tasks). As children mature an their capacity grows, they gain the ability to consider several sources of information at the same time, and their cognitive processing becomes more flexible and powerful (Cook). When the brain recognizes familiar tasks it processes the information and applies the correct rules to the procedure in order to reduce the demand on the working memory and allow for higher order processing of information. Automaticity is the ability to effortlessly complete everyday tasks with low interference of other simultaneous activities and without conscious thought.
The development of automaticity involves a shift in brain usage and a reduction in brain activity. As skills are repeated, the brain recognizes the information and can process it more quickly and with less effort (Cook). Attention becomes more sustained and selective with age; children become better at focusing on just those aspects of a situation that are relevant to their goals. Older children are also better at adapting attention to task requirements. Gains in cognitive inhibition, believed to be due to development of the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex, are particularly marked in middle childhood. They lead to expansion of processing capacity and underlie children's greater selectivity of attention (Cook).
A major strength of the information-processing approach is its precision in breaking down cognition into separate elements so each can be studied thoroughly. As a result, information processing has uncovered a variety of explicit mechanisms of cognitive change and has contributed greatly to the design of teaching techniques that advance children's thinking (Huitt). Much of the cognitive development consists of developing strategies for reaching the maximum potential of our mental limited capacity. We have to develop new strategies for learning, remembering, and processing information more efficiently so we can increase the capacity to assimilate new information and new problems.
Work Cited Huitt, W. (2003). The information Processing Approach to Cognition. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. web Miller, G.
A. (1956). The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information. Psychological Review, 63, 81- 97. web.