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Information Processing Theory

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1 | P a g e I n f o r m a t i o n P r o c e s s i n g T h e o r y Information Processing Theory Ann Drown Axia College AED/202 June 26, 2011 1
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2 | P a g e I n f o r m a t i o n P r o c e s s i n g T h e o r y As the information surrounding us continues to increase at an exponential rate, it is essential that we find a way to keep up with it. Schools deal with this surge of new information by cramming their programs full of every subject that could benefit a child. At this point in time there have been no flawless ways of teaching or learning material. This is noteworthy because researchers, educators and physiologists will surely try to develop innovative ways to more efficiently teach new information to upcoming generations. The information-processing theory is ranked as one of the best ranked learning theories to be developed in the last century. The theory likens the cognitive development of the human mind to that of a computer. This theory became popular in the 1950s when high speed computers started to appear (Information-Processing Theory, n.d.a.). In this paper I will provide an extensive synopsis of the Information Processing theory. However, with so much material available on the subject, readers will realize that this synopsis is only the tip of the iceberg. Brief History The information processing theory has many different but similar forms. Although all the forms originated from the works of cognitive psychology, primarily through the work of David Rumelhart and James McCelland and their Parallel Distributed Processing (PDP) (History of Cognitive Psychology, 1997). The following components made up their PDP, and from these components we can see how the Modern Information Processing Theory evolved (Rumelhart, Hinton and McClelland, 1986): a set of processing units a state of activation an output function for each unit 2
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3 | P a g e I n f o r m a t i o n P r o c e s s i n g T h e o r y a pattern of connectivity among units a propagation rule for propagating patterns of activities through the network of connectivity an activation rule for combining the inputs impinging on a unit with the current state of that unit to produce a new level of activation for the unit a learning rule whereby patterns of connectivity are modified by experience an environment within which the system must operate As stated earlier, information processing theories were developed in the 1950s due to the computers that were under development. Herbert Simoun, a researcher of the time, properly demonstrated his theory that human intelligence can be stimulated using computers. From this, various models of the information processing theory have been proposed, primarily in the work of memory (Information Processing Theory, n.d. b).
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