Ch 8: Cognitive Views of Learning

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Cognitive View of Learning
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Generally agreed upon philosophical orientation. Assume mental processes exist, can be studied scientifically, and that humans are active information processors. Learning is an active mental process of acquiring, remembering, and using knowledge.
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Cognitive Science
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Interdisciplinary study of thinking, language, intelligence, knowledge creation, and the brain. Views cognition as the operation of a very complex, but coordinated system of multiple memory components interacting rapidly and simultaneously. Most important element of learning is what the individual brings to new learning situations
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Mirror Systems
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Area of brain that fire both during perception of an action and when performing the action. Activated areas contain millions of neurons.
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Domain-Specific Knowledge
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Knowledge of a particular subject or task.
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General Knowledge
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Knowledge that applies to many different situations.
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Information Processing
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Human mind’s activity of taking in, storing, and using information. Emphasis on the role of working memory, attention, and interactions among the elements of the system. Model that suggests that we are surrounded by infinite amount of stimuli but we only absorb some into long-term memory (mostly random) with lots more coming into sensory memory (take it in for 1-2 seconds, but can’t remember it unless falls into long-term memory).
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Sensory Memory
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Initial processing that transforms incoming stimuli into information so we can make sense of them. Take information in for 1-2 seconds, but can’t remember it unless falls into long-term memory. Very large. Perception and attention critical.
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Perception
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Process of detecting a stimulus and assigning meaning to it. Meaning constructed based on physical representations of the world and our existing knowledge. Context matters. Phases: 1. Bottom-Up Processing 2. Gestalt 3. Top-Down Processing
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Bottom-Up Processing
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First phase of Perception. Perceiving based on noticing separate defining features and assembling them into a recognizable pattern. Stimulus must be analyzed into features/components and assembled into a meaning pattern from the bottom up.
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Gestalt
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Second phase of Perception. Features/Sensory information organized into patterns or relationships.
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Top-Down Processing
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Last phase of Perception. Features and patterns detected are combined in light of the context of the situation and our existing knowledge.
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Attention
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Guided by what we already know and what we need to know. Involved in and influenced by all 3 memory processes (Sensory, Working, Long-term). Selecting stimuli, ignoring others, limit possibilities of what information will be perceived and processed. Affected by events, type/complexity of task, resources, and abilityTakes effort, limited.
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Sequential Multitasking
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Type of multitasking. Switch attention back and forth from one task to another.
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Simultaneous Multitasking
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Type of Multitasking. Overlapping focus on several tasks at one time.
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Working Memory
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Workbench of memory system. Interface where new information is held temporarily and combined with knowledge from long-term memory to solve problems/comprehend. Contains what thinking about at the moment. Capacity very limited. Temporary storage and active processing. Information we are working with, trying to remember. Aware of information. Held for limited time; will either leave or go into long-term memory. Can only hold 7-9 bits of information at a time, but can only process 2-4. 5-20 seconds. Smaller activated part of long-term memory.
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Short-Term Memory
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Component of memory system that holds information for about 20 seconds. Storage. Immediate memory for new information. Can only hold 5-9 new bits of information at a time. Types: Phonological Loop and Visuospatial Sketchpad
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Central Executive
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Controls attention, makes plans, decides what information to retrieve, and how to allocate resources. Worker of working memory. Controls rehearsal to manage the flow of information through the information processing system.
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Phonological Loop
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Speech and sound related system for holding and rehearsing words and sounds in short-term memory. Briefly holds verbal/acoustical information, keeping it active by rehearsing and paying attention. Can hold as much as can rehearse.
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Visuospatial Sketchpad
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Holds visual and spatial information. Manipulates images. Short-term memory storage for images. Same aspects as actually looking at picture/object.
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Episodic Buffer
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Process that brings together and integrates information from the phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, and long-term memory under the supervision of the central executive, to create complex memories.
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Cognitive Load
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Amount of mental resources, mostly working memory, required to perform a particular task. Types: Intrinsic, Extraneous, Germane
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Intrinsic Cognitive Load
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Unavoidable type of cognitive load. Amount of cognitive processing required to figure out the material. Depends on how many elements, how complicated, and own level of expertise. Essential to task; cannot be eliminated.
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Extraneous Cognitive Load
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Type of cognitive load that gets in the way. Cognitive capacity used to deal with problems not related to the learning task. Can be managed if provided with supporters, help focusing attention, and scaffolded.
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Germane Cognitive Load
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Valuable type of cognitive load. Comes from deep processing of relevant information. Organizes/integrates material with what’s already known and forms new understandings.
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Maintenance Rehearsal
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Repeating information in phonological loop or refreshing information in visuospatial sketchpad. As long as information is revisited, it can be maintained in working memory indefinitely. Useful for retaining information plan to use and then forget
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Elaborative Rehearsal
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Connecting information trying to remember with something already know from long-term memory. Retains information in long-term memory. Help creates long-term memories.
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Levels of Processing Theory
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Alternative to short-term/long-term memory models. Related to notion of elaborative rehearsal. Craik and Lockhart. Length of time that information is remembered is determined by extent to which the information is analyzed and connected with other information. More completely information is processed, better chances of remembering. Processing deeper, more focused on meaning.
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Long-Term Memory
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Holds information that is well learned. Takes time and effort to store memories/information here. Capacity unlimited. Information can remain permanently. Gaining information can also take time and effort.
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Declarative Knowledge
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Knowledge that can be declared, through words and symbol systems of all kinds. Knowing that something is the case. Specific facts, generalities, personal preferences, rules. Small units can be organized into larger units. Constructed through: Elaboration, Organization, Imagery, and Context
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Procedural Knowledge
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Knowing how to do something. Knowledge in action. Must be demonstrated. General or specific. Represented as scripts or condition-action rules (Productions)
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Self-Regulatory Knowledge
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Knowing how to manage own learning. Knowing how and when to use declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge. Conditioned knowledge. Specific or general.
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Explicit Memory
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Knowledge from long-term memory that can be recalled and consciously considered. Aware of these memories; know we have remembered them. Declarative Knowledge. Not a memory system, but a task accomplished with memory system. Types: Semantic and Episodic
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Implicit Memory
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Knowledge we are not conscious of recalling, but influences behavior/thought without awareness. Not a memory system, but a task accomplished with memory system. Types: Classical Conditioning (out-of-awareness memories), Procedural Memory, Priming Effects
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Semantic Memory
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Memory for meaning. Important in schools. Declarative knowledge. Words, facts, theories, concepts. Not tied to particular experiences. Represented and stored as propositions, images, concepts, schemas.
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Proposition
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Connected in networks. Way we represent meaning of sentences and pictures in our memories. Smallest unit of knowledge that can be judged true or false.
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Propositional Networks
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Set of interconnected concepts and relationships in which long-term knowledge is held. Stores meanings. Unaware; not part of conscious memory. Why one bit of information can trigger/activate the recall of another.
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Images
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Representations based on the structure/appearance of the information. Try to remember/recreate physical attributes and spatial structure of information. Unsure how stored in memory (stored? store propositions in long-term memory? Converted in working memory?)
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Dual Coding Theory
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Paivio’s Theory on memories. Information is stored in long-term memory as either visual images, verbal units, or both. Information coded as both is easiest to learn.
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Concept
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Mental representation used to group similar events, ideas, objects, or people into a category. Abstractions; do not exist in real world; only individual examples exist. Help organize vast amounts of information into manageable units.
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Defining Attributes
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Distinctive features. Qualities that connect members of a group to a specific concept. People create concepts based on rules. Recognize specific examples by noting key required features. Ex: Can identify cats no matter what kind it is.
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Prototype
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Best representative of a category. An example that has the most important core features of the category. Other members may be very similar or similar in some ways and different in others.Usually built from experiences with exemplars. Ex: Best representative of birds may be a robin for most North Americans
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Exemplars
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Actual memories of specific objects, animals, etc, that we use to compare with an item in question to see if that item belongs in the same category. Usually build prototypes.
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Theory-Based
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Explanation for concept formation that suggests our classifications are based on ideas about the world that we create to make sense of things.
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Schemas
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Abstract knowledge structures that organize vast amounts of information. Mental framework that guides our perception and helps us make sense of our experiences based on what we already know and what we expect to happen. Tells what features are typical of a category/what to expect about an object or situation. Helps us form and understand concepts.
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Episodic Memory
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Memory for information tied to a particular place and time, especially information about the events or episodes of own life. Events we have experienced. Keeps track of the order of things.
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Flashbulb Memories
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Memories for dramatic or emotional moments in life. Vivid and complete.
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Procedural Memory
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Type of implicit memory. Memory for procedural knowledge (skills, habits, how to perform tasks). Takes awhile to learn, but once learned, remembered for a long time.
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Scripts
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Type of procedural knowledge. Action sequences or plans for actions stored in memory. Helps organize and remember the predictable aspects of the world. Frees up some working memory to learn new things and recognize when something is out of place in a situation
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Productions
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Type of procedural knowledge. Specify what to do in certain situations. If A occurs, then do B. Condition-Action rules.
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Priming
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Type of implicit memory. Activating information that already is in long-term memory through some out-of-awareness process. Fundamental process for retrieval as associations are activated and spread through the memory system.
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Spreading Activation
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Retrieval of pieces of information based on their relatedness to one another, Remembering one bit of information activates recall of associated information.
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Retrieval
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Process of searching for and finding information in long-term memory. Occurs through the spreading of activation from one bit of knowledge to related ideas in the network.
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Reconstruction
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Cognitive tool or problem-solving process that makes use of logic, cues, and other knowledge to construct a reasonable answer by filling in missing parts. Sometimes recollections are incorrect. Sometimes used when spreading activation cannot find information.
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Elaboration
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Adding meaning to new information by connecting with already existing knowledge. Apply schemas and draw on already existing knowledge to construct understanding. Form of rehearsal. Easier to recall if do when first learn information. Keeps information in working memory long enough to have a chance for new information to be integrated with knowledge in long-term memory. Builds extra links to existing knowledge. Constructs Declarative Knowledge.
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Organization
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Element of processing that improves learning. Constructs Declarative Knowledge. Easier to learn and remember than bits and pieces of information. Helps with complex/extensive material. Exs: Chunking, Placing concepts in structures.
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Mnemonics
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Systematic procedures for improving memory. Build in meaning by connecting what is to be learned with established words or images.
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Loci Method
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Technique of associating items with specific places.
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Chain Mnemonics
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Methods that connect the first item to be memorized with the second, the second with the third, so on. Ex: “i before e except after c”
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Keyword Method
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Mnemonic system of associating new words or concepts with similar sounding cue words and images. Effective only if they come up with own, not when provided by teacher. Very helpful in languages.
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Serial-Position Effect
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Tendency to remember the beginning and the end, but not the middle of the list.
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Part-Learning
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Breaking a list of items into shorter lists to decrease the serial-position effect.
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Distributed Practice
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Practice in brief periods with rest intervals. Deeper processing; strengthens connections in neural network of brain.
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Massed Practice
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Practice for a single extended period. Leads to cognitive overload, fatigue, and lagging motivation.
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Cognitive Stage
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First stage of automated skill. Rely on declarative knowledge and general problem solving strategies to accomplish goal. Must think about every step. Cognitive load in working memory is heavy.
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Associative Stage
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Second stage of automated skill. Individual steps of a procedure combined into larger units. One step smoothly cues the next. Still need practice
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Autonomous Stage
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Final stage of automated skill. Whole procedure can be accomplished without much attention. Procedure is automatic.
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Domain-Specific Strategies
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Consciously applied skills that organize thoughts and actions to reach a goal.

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