Skills mental as well as motor skills are stored as

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Unformatted text preview: short period of time. Representations of Procedural Knowledge in Memory. Skills, mental as well as motor skills, are stored as procedural knowledge. The ability of a musicians to play their instruments, or an athlete to perform in an event is possible because of information stored as procedural knowledge. Likewise the expert mathematician’s skillful performance of mathematical operations is possible because of the his or her procedural knowledge. Many of the abilities that we rely on daily, such as the ability to drive a car, write a letter, or comprehend text are only possible because large portions of those abilities are represented in long-term memory as procedural knowledge. The basic unit of procedural knowledge is a production (Anderson, 1983), each composed of two parts: (a) a conditions and (b) an action. The condition portion of the production stores information about the environment and mental conditions that to trigger the action. The action portion of the production stores information that guides a mental or physical action when triggered when a person recognizes the existence of the conditions. Consider the following example of a production. Manuscript 9/28/03 12 Conditions 1. If my goal is to go to town, and 2. I am driving on Camp Townsend-Winona Road, and 3. I am approaching the intersection with State Route 89, and 4. The traffic light is green, and 5. There is no traffic in the intersection. Actions: 1. Then remove my foot from the accelerator to slow the car, and 2. The turn left and enter the left hand lane of Route 89 South, and 3. Apply pressure to the accelerator and resume speed. Notice the condition specified the physical surroundings appropriate for the action, being the driver in a car, being at a particular intersection, the state of the light, and the actions of other drivers, as well as my mental state, having the goal of going to town. If all of the physical and mental conditions are met the action automatically follows, otherwise some other action will be taken. The automaticity of the action means that I need not consciously control each step of the production. Interconnections of Knowledge The third and maybe most important capability of human memory is the ability to interconnect and organize knowledge into larger integrated wholes. Informationprocessing theory proposes different mechanisms for integrating and organizing declarative and procedural knowledge. Declarative knowledge may be organized into schemata, or in ACT theory into declarative knowledge networks. In addition ACT theory proposes that procedural knowledge may be organized into production systems. Manuscript 9/28/03 13 Schema and declarative knowledge. Schema and related ideas like frames and scripts are concepts used by cognitive theorists as an explanation for how declarative knowledge is organized in memory (Minsky, 1975; Rumelhart & Ortony, 1977; Schank, 1975). In our discussions, we will use schema as a generic term to represent these related ideas. A schema (pl. schemata) is a memory structure that contains the organized and interconnected declarati...
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