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A Topical Approach to LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT. Chapter Seven: Information Processing. John W. Santrock. Information-Processing Approach. Analyzes the ways people process information about their world Manipulate information Monitor it Create strategies to deal with it

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  1. A Topical Approach toLIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT Chapter Seven: Information Processing John W. Santrock

  2. Information-Processing Approach • Analyzes the ways people process information about their world • Manipulate information • Monitor it • Create strategies to deal with it • Effectiveness involves attention, memory, thinking

  3. Simplified Model of Information Processing Fig. 7.1

  4. Information-Processing Approach

  5. Information-Processing Approach • Speed of processing information • Assessed using reaction time tasks • Changes in speed of processing • Improves dramatically through childhood and adolescence • Changes due to myelination or experience? • Decline begins in middle adulthood; continues into late adulthood

  6. Information-Processing Approach • Does processing speed matter? • Linked with competence in thinking • For many everyday tasks, speed is unimportant • Efficient strategies can compensate for slower reaction times and speed • Processing linked to accumulated knowledge and abilities to perform

  7. Fig. 7.2 The Relation of Age to Reaction Time

  8. Attention • Attention: focusing of mental resources • Four types • Infancy • First year: orienting/investigative process • Directs attention to locations (‘where’) • Recognize objects and their features (‘what’) • Attention gains flexibility and speed • Sustained (focused) attention increases

  9. Types of Attention

  10. Attention • Infancy • Sustained (focused) attention linked to • Habituation: decreased responsiveness to stimulus after repeated presentations • Dishabituation:recovery of a habituated response after change in stimulation • Joint attention begins about 7 to 8 months of age • Gaze following: begins 10 to 11 months of age

  11. Attention • Infancy • Joint attention • Individuals focus on same object or event and requires • Ability to track another’s behavior • One person directing another’s attention • Reciprocal interaction • Frequency of caregiver-infant interactions affect language development and vocabulary size

  12. Attention • Childhood • Attention control ability increases with age • Preschool child: deficits in attention control • Attention to salient stimuli • Planning improves as part of playfulness • Young children: most advances in executive and sustained attention • Affected by early experiences and education

  13. J J (b) (a) The Planfulness of Attention In three pairs of houses, all windows were identical In three pairs of houses, the windows were different By filming the reflection in children’s eyes, one could determine what they looked at, how long they looked, and the sequence of their eye movements. Fig. 7.4

  14. Attention • Adolescence • Processing of irrelevant information decreases • Ability to shift from one activity to another at will • Better at tasks that require this skill • Better at multi-tasking • Number of competing tasks increases with age • Expands information attended to; distracting • Processing ability varies among adolescents

  15. Attention • Adulthood • Older adults may not be able to focus on relevant information as effectively as younger adults • Less adept at selective attention • Older adults (50-80) performed worse in the divided attention condition than two younger groups; affected by vision and environmental distractions

  16. Memory • Memory: retention of information over time • Allows humans to span time in reflection over life’s activities • Processes of memory • How information is encoded, retained, and stored in memory • Memory has imperfections

  17. Processing Information in Memory Fig. 7.5

  18. Memory • Constructing memory • Schema theory • Many reasons for inaccuracy; “we fill in gaps” • People construct and reconstruct memories; mold to fit information already existing in mind • Schemas • Mental frameworks that organize concepts and information; affects encoding and retrieval

  19. Memory • Culture, gender, and memory linked • Culture selectively sensitizes members of society • Cultural specificity hypothesis • Cultural environment affects experiences • Females better than males at • Episodic and emotion-linked memories • Processing information in elaborately and in more detail

  20. Memory • Infancy • Recent research: limited type of memory at 3 mos. • First memories • Rovee-Collier infant memory experiments • Implicit memory: memory without conscious recollection; skills and routine done automatically • Explicit memory: conscious memory of facts and experiences; appears after 6 months

  21. Memory • Infancy • Infantile Amnesia • Also called childhood amnesia • One cause: immature prefrontal lobe • Adults recall little or none of first three years • Prefrontal lobes in brain play important role in memory of events

  22. Memory • Childhood • Memory improves considerably after infancy • Short-term memory • Retains information up to 15 to 30 seconds without rehearsal (span is very limited) • Working memory • Kind of mental workbench for manipulating and assembling information • More active, powerful than short-term memory

  23. Memory • Childhood • Working memory • Make decisions, solve problems • Comprehend written and spoken language • Long-term memory • Relatively permanent, unlimited type of memory • Questions about child’s ability to testify in court • Several factors affect this ability

  24. Working Memory Model Fig. 7.9

  25. Memory • Children’s long-term memory • Children as eyewitnesses • Age differences in susceptibility • Individual differences in susceptibility • Interviewing techniques can cause distortions; determines if child’s testimony is accurate • Depends on number of factors involved • Reliability influenced most by interviewer

  26. Memory • Children’s long-term memory • Strategies used to improve • Rehearsal: repetition better for short-term • Organizing: making information relevant • Imagery • Creating mental images for verbal information • Elaboration • Engaging in more extensive processing of information; use of examples, self-referencing

  27. Memory • Children’s long-term memory • Fuzzy trace theory • Two types of memory representations • Verbatim memory trace: precise details • Gist: central idea of information • Knowledge • Influences what people notice and how they organize, represent, interpret information

  28. Imagery and Memory of Verbal Information Fig. 7.11

  29. Memory • Adulthood • Working memory and processing speed • Linked to aging, reading and math achievement • Performance peaks at 45; declines at age 57 • Decline affects both new and old information • Long-term memory has two systems

  30. Memory • Adulthood • Long-term memory has two systems • Explicit: conscious/declarative memory • Episodic memory: retention of information about the where and when of events • Autobiographical memory • Reminiscence bump

  31. Memory • Adulthood • Long-term memory has two systems • Explicit: conscious/declarative memory • Semantic memory: one’s knowledge about world including field of expertise • Implicit memory: routine skills and procedures performed automatically (unconscious memory)

  32. Memory • Adulthood • Aging and explicit memory • Younger adults have better episodic memory • Older adults remember older events better than more recent events; take longer to retrieve semantic information • Accuracy fades with the aging of a memory • Tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) phenomenon

  33. Memory for Spanish as a Function of Age Since Spanish Was Learned Fig. 7.13

  34. Memory • Adulthood • Aging and implicit memory • Less adversely affected by aging than explicit memory • Source memory • Ability to remember where something is learned • Physical, emotional setting; speaker identity • Failures increase with age in adult years; relevancy of information affects ability

  35. Memory • Adulthood • Prospective memory • Remembering to do something in the future • Age-related; declines depend on task • Time-based tasks decline more • Event-based tasks show less decline

  36. Thinking • What is thinking? • Manipulating, transforming information in memory • Childhood • Key aspects of infant cognitive development • Attention, memory, imitation, concepts • Concepts: • ideas about what categories represent • Categories: • Grouping based on characteristics

  37. Thinking • Childhood • Concepts • Perceptual categorization: as young as 7 mos. • Categorization increases in second year; infants differentiate more • Large gender differences based on interests • Infant’s abilities much richer, more gradual, less stage-like, occurs earlier than Piaget thought

  38. Thinking • Critical thinking • Grasping deeper meaning of ideas; open minded • Ask what, how, and why • Examine facts and determine evidence • Recognize one or more explanations exist • Evaluate before accepting as truth • Speculate beyond what is known

  39. Thinking • Scientific thinking • Aspects of thinking are domain specific (e.g. math) • Aimed at identifying causal relationships • ChiIdren: emphasize causal mechanisms • Important differences in reasoning • Cling to old theories regardless of evidence • More influenced by happenstance • Have difficulty designing experiments

  40. Thinking • Solving problems • Involves finding appropriate way to attain a goal • Children: need skill in and out of school) • Teach strategies and rules to solve problems • Teacher is model, motivate children • Use effective strategy instruction • Encourage alternative strategies/approaches • Use analogies to solve problems

  41. Thinking • Adolescence • Critical Thinking • If fundamental skills not developed during childhood, critical-thinking skills unlikely to mature in adolescence • Decision Making • Older adolescents appear more competent • Ability does not guarantee every day usage • Social context plays key role here

  42. Thinking • Adulthood • Practical problem solving, expertise improve • Expertise: extensive, highly organized knowledge and understanding of particular domain • Rely on accumulative experience • Process and analyze data automatically • Have better strategies and shortcuts

  43. Thinking • Adulthood • Education, work, and health • Influence older adult cognitive functioning • Higher educational levels today than in past • Work — now more cognitively oriented • Health: better medicine, longer life spans

  44. Thinking • Cognitive neuroscience and aging • Studies brain and cognitive functioning links • Relies on fMRI and PET scans • Changes in brain have affects • Decline of neural circuits in prefrontal cortex • Decline in hippocampus functioning • Neural differences in age larger for retrieval than encoding

  45. Thinking • Older adulthood • Use It or Lose It: • Practice helps cognitive skills - mindfulness • Exercise, mental health linked to cognitive fitness • Cognitive training • Training can improve some cognitive skills • Some loss of plasticity in late adulthood

  46. Metacognition • Metacognition • Takes many forms • Knowledge about when and where to use particular strategies • Metamemory: knowledge about memory • Theory of mind: curiosity or thoughts about how mental processes work • Changes as child ages

  47. Metacognition • Developmental changes • Ages 2 to 3: awareness of emotions, perceptions, and desires • Age 5: learn realization of false beliefs • Age 7: deepening appreciation of the mind itself • Middle and late childhood: mind seen as active constructor of knowledge • Adolescence: realize ambivalent feelings exist

  48. Developmental Changes in False Belief Performance Fig. 7.17

  49. Metacognition • Individual differences • Evidenced as children reach certain milestones in their theory of mind • Executive function: several functions important for flexible, future-oriented behavior • Theory of mind and autism • Difficulty in social interactions, communication, repetitive behaviors, interests • Have difficulty developing theory of mind

  50. Metacognition • Metamemory • Limited in children • Preschoolers have inflated opinion of memories, little appreciation for memory cue importance • Understanding of memory abilities and skill in evaluating performance on memory tasks improves considerably by 11-12 years of age

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