I.  The information-processing approach

            “Cognitive revolution” generated information-processing theory

            Based on inadequacies of behaviorist approach and computer technology

            Computer model of information-processing

                        1.  Hardware (brain and nervous system) and software (rules and strategies)

                        2.  Emphasis on mental processes like attention, memory, decision making

            A.  The Memory System

                        1.  Atkinson and Shiffrin model of memory

                                    a.  sensory register-- holds incoming information for fraction of second

                                    b.  short-term memory-- holds about seven items for several seconds

                                    c.  working memory-- active form of short-term memory

                                                 mental scratch pad”

                                    d.  long-term memory--  relatively permanent store of information

                        2.  Steps to learning and memory

                                    a.  encoding-- getting information into system (sensory to short-term)

                                    b.  storage-- holding information (in long-term)

                                    c.  retrieval-- getting information out of long-term memory

                        3.  Types of retrieval

                                    a.  recognition memory--  recognize among options (multiple choice


                                    b.  recall memory-- active retrieval without cue (essay question)

                                    c.  cued-recall-- active retrieval with cue (hint)

            B.  Implicit and Explicit Memory

                        1.  Implicit memory-- unintentional, automatic

                        2.  Explicit memory-- deliberate, effortful

                                    a.  amnesia more likely to impact explicit memory

                                    b.  implicit may develop earlier

                                    c.  two types follow different paths of development

                                                i.    explicit capacity increases from infancy to adulthood then


                                                ii.    implicit memory capacity does not change much across the life


            C.  Problem Solving

                        1.  Problem solving-- using information-processing system to arrive at decision

                        2.  Executive control processes-- part of system that plans and monitors activity

                        3.  Humans are parallel processors--can carry out several mental activities at same


                        4.  Focus on how problem solving is done

                        5.  Many processes improve between infancy and adulthood, then show some



II.  The infant

            A.  Memory

                        1.  Assessment of infant memory-- often with imitation, habituation or operant                                 conditioning techniques

                        2.  Imitation-- measure memory by having infant repeat activity they have seen

                                    infants imitate tongue thrust

                                                i.    may be reflex action

                                                ii.    deferred imitation-- ability to imitate a novel act after a delay

                                                      appears at 6-months of age

                        3.  Habituation-- learn to not respond to a repeatedly presented stimulus (get


                                    a.  measure of recognition memory

                                    b.  newborns habituate and can retain for a few days or weeks

                        4.  Operant conditioning

                                    a.  Rovee-Collier and colleagues demonstrated recall memory in infants

                                                i.    shown mobile

                                                ii.    ribbon tied to infants leg and when leg kick mobile moves

                                                iii.   ribbon removed

                                                iv.   days later infant kicks at site of mobile

                                          v.  3-month-olds recall for 1 week, 6-month-olds remember for 2

                                                weeks, 18-month-olds remember for 3 months

                                    b.  memory strongest when cued (cue dependent)

                                    c.  memory appears context specific (context-specific)

                        5.  Recall-- retrieval without cue

                                    a.  toward end of first year of life will search for hidden toy

                                    b. 13-month-olds imitate sequence of events (held in memory)

                                    c.  2-year-olds used words to reconstruct earlier events

            B.  Problem Solving

                        By 9 months infants can solve the problem of reaching an object that is out of

                        reach, younger infants can solve problems if given hints


III.  The child

            Dramatic improvements in learning and memory in childhood

            A.  Explaining Memory Development

                        1.  Four major hypotheses

                                    a.  changes in basic capacities

                                                i.    more memory space

                                                ii.    increasing speed of processing increases

                                    b.  changes in memory strategies

                                                increasing use of effective encoding and retrieval strategies

                                    c.  increased knowledge about memory

                                                i.    know how long to study (i.e., which tasks take longer)

                                                ii.    better at selection of strategies

                                    d.  increased knowledge about world

                                                i.    expertise leads to improvements in memory

                                                ii.    familiar material easier to recall

                        2.  Do basic capacities change?

                                    a.  little change in long-term memory capacity

                                    b.  speed of processing increases

                                    c.  Piagetian centration may be due to memory limitations

                                    d.  short-term memory capacity increases in childhood

                                                processes may become automatized, freeing up memory space

                                    e.  short-term memory increases may be domain specific

                                    f.  improvement due to biological maturation of brain and experience

                        3.  Do memory strategies change?

                                    a.  rehearsal-- repeating items in memory, one of the first strategies

                                                dramatic increase between ages 5 and 7

                                    b.  organization-- clumping into meaningful groups emerges as effective

                                         tools around age 9

                                    c.  elaboration-- actively creating meaning

                                                i.    add meaningful link between items

                                                ii.    emerges later

                                    d.  deficiencies in three phases

                                                i.    mediation deficiency-- don’t benefit even when taught to use


                                                ii.    production deficiency-- can use strategy, but do not produce

                                                      any on their own

                                                iii.   utilization deficiency-- can spontaneously produce strategy,

                                                      but doesn’t benefit from strategy use

                                    e.  child-task interaction key to emergence of utilization deficiencies

                                    f.  retrieval strategies-- methods of accessing long-term memory

                                                young children often fail to benefit from being taught memory

                                                strategies (tend to rely on external cues for encoding and


                        4.  Does knowledge about memory change?

                                    a.  metamemory-- knowledge about process of remembering

                                    b.  metacognition-- knowledge about cognitive processes

                                                i.    2- to 3-year-olds demonstrate some metacognitive skills

                                                ii.    5-year-olds detect differences in salience of events

                                                iii.   timing may make a difference as highest overestimates of

                                                      memory occur just after the task

                                                iv.   increases in metamemory major contributor to improved


                                                v.  need to know why a strategy is useful in order to be motivated

                                                      to use it

                        5.  Does knowledge of the world change?

                                    knowledge base-- what someone knows

                                                i.    Chi showed knowledge of chess could impact memory for

                                                      chess positions

                                                ii.    expertise can improve memory for related materials

                        6.  Revisiting the explanations

                                    a.  older children greater information-processing capacity

                                    b.  older children use more effective memory strategies

                                    c.  older children know more about how memory works (metamemory


                                    d.  older children have larger knowledge base

                                    e.  most effective predictor of memory performance includes basic

                                                capacities, strategies, and metamemory

            B.  Autobiographical Memory-- Memory for Our Own Experiences

                        When do autobiographical memories begin?

                                    a.  childhood (infantile) amnesia-- most have few autobiographical

                                         memories for events occurring before age 2

                                                i.    limited early autobiographical memories may be due to lack of

                                                      working memory space

                                                ii.    lack of language skills may impact autobiographical memory           

                                                iii.   memories may be no longer useful

                                                iv.   fuzzy-trace theory-- store verbatim and general accounts


                                    v.  verbatim memories unstable

                                    vi.   memory for gist better

                                    vii.  with age make transition from verbatim to gist         

                                                viii. may lose explicit recall of early experience

                                    b.  scripts-- mental sequence for an event/behavior

                                                i.    children report general sequences versus specific experience

                                                ii.    experiences lead to better scripts

                                    c.  eyewitness memory

                                                i.    reconstructed nature of memory interferes with accuracy of

                                                      eyewitness testimony

                                                ii.    young children are fairly accurate but report less information

                                                      than older children

                                                iii.   leading or irrelevant, and ambiguous questions result in


            C.  Problem Solving

                        Siegler's rule-assessment approach-- focus on what children take in and the rules

                        they formulate

                                    a.  research on balance beam problem

                                                i.    young children use no rules

                                                ii.    4- and 5-year-olds rule based on weight

                                                iii.   by 8 also considered distance

                                                iv.   by 12 rule dependent on both weight and distance that is

                                                      successful on simple problems

                                                v.  by 20 rule dependent on both weight and distance that is

                                                      successful on complex problems

                                                vi.   accuracy takes time

                                    b.  most children use multiple rules

                                    c.  natural selection of effective rules is adaptive

d.      with experience, problem solving strategies become more effective

over time


IV.  The adolescent

            A.  Improvements During Adolescence

                        1.  New learning and memory strategies emerge

                        2.  Use of strategies is more deliberate, selective, and spontaneous

                                    better able to push irrelevant information out of working memory

                        3.  Basic capacities improve

                                    a.  increase in speed of processing

                                    b.  knowledge base increase

                                    c.  metamemory and metacognition improve

                                                when pressed for time devote more time to easy items

                                    d.  are able to apply information-processing skills deliberately and

                                         spontaneously across a variety of tasks


V.  The adult

            A.  Developing Expertise

                        Effect of knowledge base on memory and problem solving

                                    a.  experts have larger, more organized knowledge base, and information                                                    used efficiently

                                    b.  knowledge and processing is domain-specific

                                                i.    experts in math are good at numeric memory, but performance

                                                      does not translate to other domains

                                                ii.    domain specific knowledge can hinder performance if solution

                                                      violates common principle

                                    c.  expertise can allow for compensation for losses in information-

                                         processing capacities

            B.  Autobiographical Memory

                                          1.  Adult autobiographical memories in adulthood may be an integration of several


                                    2.  Autobiographical memories of former self tend to be more negative than current perception

                                          3.  Recall more information from late teens and early 20s than from any other time

                                                      a.  could be due to the effect this time of life has on shaping who we are as

                                                           an adult

                                                      b.  could be due to their distinctiveness

            C.  Memory and Aging

                        Common trouble recalling names and items that will later be needed

                        Become more upset at memory loss, seen as indicator of aging

                        1.  Areas of Strength and Weakness

                                    a.  memory pattern in adulthood

                                                i.    research cross-sectional, declines may be the result of factors

                                                      other than age

                                                ii.    declines most noticeable in older adulthood (71+)

                                                iii.   not all older people experience memory difficulties

                                                iv.   not all memory tasks cause older adult difficulties

                                    b.  timed tasks-- older slower, hurt by time limits

c.       unfamiliar content-- older slower when task unfamiliar (ones that

cannot be tied to existing knowledge)

                                    d.  artificial tasks (laboratory tasks)-- performance poorer but likely

                                         related to meaningfulness of task

                                                in naturalistic environments, older adults can outperform younger


                                    e.  unexercised skills-- less practice leads to disadvantage

                                    f.  recall versus recognition-- recognition superior to recall

                        g.  explicit memory tasks-- more trouble with explicit (those requiring

                             effort) than on implicit tasks

                        h.  cognitively demanding tasks more difficulty in older age        

                        2.  Explaining declines in old age

                                    a.  knowledge-base

                                                i.    older have superior vocabulary

                                                ii.    older have more general knowledge that helps compensate for

                                                      loss of memory skills

                                                iii. knowledge is power

                                    b.  metamemory

                                                i.    express more negative attitudes toward own memory ability

                                                ii.    negative stereotypes contribute to metamemory

                                                iii.   culture plays role, Chinese adults and Deaf American adults

                                                      perform better than Hearing American adults who tend to

                                                      hold more negative stereotypes about aging

                                    c.  memory strategies

                                                less spontaneous generation of strategies

                                    d.  basic processing capacities

                                                i.    working-memory capacity may decrease

                                                ii.    slowing central nervous system may hinder working and long-

                                                      term memory

                                    e.  sensory changes

                                                loss of vision and hearing contributes to problems

                                    f.  contextual contributors to learning and memory in adulthood

                                                i.    cohort differences in education and IQ

                                                ii.    cohort differences in health and life style

                                    g.  summing up

                                                i.    basic processing decline in speed and working memory

                                                ii.    context and individual difference impact responding

            D.  Problem Solving and Aging

                        1.  Older adults use fewer constraint-seeking questions-- ones that rule out more

                             than one item

                        2.  Performance on meaningless tasks decreases, but performance on meaningful,                                       everyday tasks is stable or improves