Cognitive structures and processes involved in learning

Essay by humanlifeformCollege, UndergraduateA-, September 2009

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Cognitive psychology is a field of psychology which studies how the human mind perceives, thinks and how memory is stored. This essay will use the Modal Model to illustrate the cognitive structures and processes involved in the process of learning. It will lay emphasis on short-term-memory and automation.

The modal model is an information processing model that attempts to elucidate the memory process. This model divides the memory process into three distinct memory systems, namely, sensory memory, short-term memory (working memory) and long-term-memory. These memory systems perform specific tasks and are interrelated by a number of processes.

Sensory memory is the first memory system that comes in contact with stimuli. It is where stimuli are held briefly for pre-conceptual analysis to occur (Bruning, Schraw, Norby, Ronning, 2004). There are three stages within sensory memory. Perception is where incoming stimuli is detected by sensory registers through the body's sensory system (Bruning et al , 2004).

Although there are separate registers for all the five senses, the two main registers are the visual and audio registers. If attention is allocated to the stimuli, the information is then associated with a familiar pattern in prior knowledge. This process is known as pattern recognition (Bruning et al, 2004). Finally, the information is assigned a meaning and then passed on to short-term-memory. An example of the process of sensory memory is an individual looking at a piece of paper who then perceives what is seen on the page and determines if they are alphabets, numbers or pictures etc. Sensory memory is very limited in capacity. Visual registers can hold about 7 to 9 pieces on information for about half a second while auditory registers can store the same amount of information for approximately 4 seconds.

Attention is an integral component in the process of...