Comparing Cognitive & Behavioral Views
The cognitive and behavioral views differ in their assumptions about what is learned. According to the cognitive view, knowledge & strategies are learned, and then changes in knowledge & strategies make changes in behavior possible. According to the behavioral view, the new behaviors themselves are learned. Both behavioral & cognitive theorists believe reinforcement is important in learning, but for different reasons. The strict behaviorist maintains that reinforcement strengthens responses; cognitive theorists perceive reinforcement as a source of information about what is likely to happen if behaviors are repeated or changed.
Stimuli from the environment (sights, sounds, smells, etc.) constantly bombard our body’s mechanisms for seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling. Sensory memory is the initial processing that transforms these incoming stimuli into information so we can make sense of them. Other names for sensory memory are sensory buffer, iconic memory (for images), and echoic memory (for sounds).
The process from sensory input to recognized objects probably goes through several stages. In the first phase, features are extracted or analyzed to give a rough sketch. This feature analysis has been called data-driven or bottom-up processing because the stimulus must be analyzed into features or components and assembled into a meaningful pattern “from the bottom up.”
Example: a capital letter A consists of 2 relatively straight lines joined at a 45-degree angle and a horizontal line through the middle. Whenever we see these features, or anything else close enough, we are the road to recognizing an A. This explains how we are able to read words written in other people’s handwriting, and why humans, but not computer bots, can fill in those annoying security codes (captchas)
Working memory is the “workbench” of the memory system, the interface where new information is held temporarily & combined with knowledge from long-term memory to solve problems or comprehend a lecture, for example. Working memory “contains” what you are thinking about at the moment. For this reason, some psychologists consider the working memory to be synonymous with “consciousness”. Unlike sensory memory or long-term memory, working memory capacity is very limited.
Elaborative rehearsal involves connecting the information you are trying to remember with something you already know-with knowledge from long-term memory.
Example: if you meet someone at a party whose name is the same as your brother’s, you don’t have to repeat the name to keep it in memory; you just have to make the connection.
Chunking: The limited capacity of working memory can also be somewhat circumvented by the process of chunking. Because the number of bits of information, not the size of each bit, is a limitation for working memory, you can retain more information if you can group individual bits of information.
Developmental Differences: There are 3 basic aspects of memory: memory span or the amount of information that can be held in short-term/working memory, memory processing efficiency, and the speed of processing. As they get older, children can process many different kinds of information-verbal, visual, mathematical, etc.-faster, so increased speed of processing seems to be a general factor. In addition, the increase in speed with ages is the same for American and Korean children, so increasing processing speed with age may be universal. These 3 basic capacities act together & influence each other; more efficient processing allows greater amounts to be held in memory. But as they grow older, children develop more effective strategies for remembering information. Most children spontaneously discover rehearsal around age 5-6 and continue to use it. Also around age 6, most children discover the value of using organizational strategies, and by 9-10, they