Informatio Processing

A brief description of the information processing approach and development of memory through the ages.

Developmental Psychology

Essat\y submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the specialist diploma in psychology

23 March 2011

The information processing approach is a framework used by cognitive psychologists to explain and describe mental processes. The model associates the thinking process to how a computer works. Just like a computer, the human mind takes in information, organizes and stores it to be retrieved at a later time. Just as the computer has an input device, a processing unit, a storage unit, and an output device, so does the human mind have equivalent structures (Proctor & Vu, 2006).

In a computer, information is entered by means of input devices like a keyboard or scanner. In the human mind, the input device is called the sensory register, made up of sensory organs such as the eyes and the ears through which we obtain information about our surroundings.

As information is received by a computer, it is processed in the central processing unit, which is equivalent to the working memory or short-term memory. In the human mind, this is where information is temporarily held so that it may be used, discarded, or transferred into long-term memory. According to (Sigelman & Rider, 2006) short term memory holds a limited amount of information for a few seconds. This is also known as passive memory. Working memory on the other hand is known as an active memory, it temporarily stores memory while acting on it.

In a computer, information is stored in a hard disk, which is equivalent to the long-term memory. This is where we keep information that is not currently being used. Information stored in the Long-Term Memory may be kept for an indefinite period of time.

When a computer processes information, it displays the results by means of an output device like a computer screen or a printout. In humans, the result of...