Information Processing and Memory
Submitted by: Andrea Cox
Ch. 4 Information Processing, Memory, and Problem Solving
Information processing focuses on how information is acquired, stored and used. The most common version information processing model is the multistore model. The three main components of this model are sensory register, working memory (focus of attention & short-term store) and long-time memory (Bergin & Bergin, 2012). Sensory register acquires information through the senses (seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling). Attention acts as a door that controls what information is allowed into working memory (short-term memory). Working memory is where information from the senses is processed at a particular moment. Working memory is also where thinking occurs (Bergin & Bergin 2012). The executive function works with attention and working memory to control the brains information processing. Long-term memory is where knowledge or permanent information is stored.
Students process information at different rates. It is common for a classroom to be quite diversified regarding how students process and retain information being taught. Several techniques that can prevent over loading of working memory and executive load are as follows: 1) maintain a speed that allows students fully process information, 2) reduce as many distractions as possible in the classroom, 3) increase expertise of students (the more automatic processing frees working memory), 4) provide external storage (notes, write instructions on board, etc.), and 5) use small chunks to teach information (Bergin & Bergin, 2012).
Two types of memories are verbatim and fuzzy traces. Verbatim traces are the memories that can be recalled accurately and in detail. Fuzzy traces are when the gist of the information is remembered. Memory errors can take place for a variety of reasons. Emotional experiences can greatly influence accuracy of memories (Boat, Connell & Warner, 2009). Time can decay a memory, as well as retrieval failure when information cannot be retrieved when needed. New knowledge can interfere at times with old knowledge, which can make accurate retrieval difficult. False memories are memories that never happened and can be considered intelligent errors (Bergin & Bergin, 2012).
Teachers utilize various memory strategies when introducing and reviewing information taught in the classroom. One strategy that involves rehearsal is round-robin. Students who are learning the scientific method work in groups to repeat the steps of the scientific method in order. Organizing information using graphic organizers (Venn diagrams, t-charts, etc.) can also help students remember information. Having students elaborate on information being taught can be quite effective in regards to retention of information. An example of elaboration would be when students are learning which axis is x and y, they use the saying “y” to the sky to remember that the y axis is vertical.
Additional strategies that can be used to improve memory (1-6, Cherry, 2009) (7-9, Bergin & Bergin, 2012)…
- Avoid cramming by establishing regular study sessions.
- Structure and organize the information you are studying.
- Utilize mnemonic devices to remember information.
- Connect new information to things you already know.
- Visualize concepts to improve memory and recall.
- Teach new concepts to another person.
- Test or quiz frequently.
- Use cumulative tests so that students are more likely to integrate new material with old.
- Provide immediate feedback after tests or models of an ideal response.
Utilizing strategies designed to improve and enhance memory will result in increased academic success. Teachers need to model and scaffold these skills for the students consistently throughout the school year.
Bergin, C. A., & Bergin, D. A. (2012). Information Processing, Memory and Problem Solving. Child and adolescent development in your classroom (pp. 127 – 148). Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Connell, M. E., Boat, T. F., & Warner, K. E. (2009). Perspectives from Developmental Neuroscience.Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people progress and possibilities(pp. 132 – 133). Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
AS. (n.d.). Psychology4A. Retrieved September 8, 2013, from http://psychology4a.com/memory%204.htm
Cherry, K. (n.d.). Improving Memory – Top 10 Tips for Improving Memory. Psychology – Complete Guide to Psychology for Students, Educators & Enthusiasts. Retrieved September 8, 2013, from http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/tp/memory_tips.htm
- What are a few strategies you have used in the classroom to address students who process information at different rates?
- Have you used differentiated instruction and do you find that it successfully meets the needs of the students in your classroom?
- Select three memory strategies listed above and discuss how you would use them in the classroom.
- When is it appropriate to expect the students to know information in full detail and to know the general gist of the information?