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Flashcards in Human information processing Deck (41)
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Input stage

senses stimulus
goes to sensory memory- held long enough for unconscious interpretation (whether to pay attention to it or not)


processing stage

occurs at CDM(central decision maker)- only single channel processing
incoming info in working memory compared to past experiences in long term memory
can also decide to store new information in long term memory


3 stages of information processing



response stage

physical or verbal form
could be thoughts, eye movements, doing nothing etc


automatic processing

before its perceived, a decision is made by procedural memory (part of long term)
response follows


selective attention

ability select from the many factors or stimuli and focus to any one you prefer or your brain selects
able to avoid internal & external distractions
cocktail party effect


divided attention

ability to concentrate on 2 or more environmental factors, stimuli or activities simultaneously (multi tasking)
however CDM can only say attention to 1 piece of info at time consciously
can perform 1 conscious task and 1 unconscious task at the same time eg playing an instrument


attention span

ability to maintain concentration on a piece of information



sustaining attention on something so as to notice when a non-ordinary/ dangerous event happens
vigilance will change through the day(linked with circadian rhythm )


hypo vigilance

low vigilance
occurs due to:
low lighting, heat, monotony, reduction of workload, fatigue

re-stimulate brain by:
doing a task
read through you manual (in flight training)
caffeine(short term boost)
communicate with co worker



allows us to make sense of things
3 steps:
selection of stimuli
organisation of information


selection of stimuli

stuff we pay attention to influenced by motifs
perceptual expectancy- perceiving tings a certain way based on what you expect and assume based on the world
salient objects- stimuli that stand out, eg loud noise
cocktail party effect


organisation of information

turn information into meaningful patterns to make sense of it
gestalts laws: brain wants to group things together where possible
grouping info can lead to misguided perceptions

mental schemas: mental representation of categories
allow us to think quickly however inaccurate. impressions on people based on appearance etc
stereotypes also help make sense of things, simplify and arrange info, dangerous when they no longer reflect reality


Gestalt's law of proximity

people see clusters of dots rather than large number of individual dots


Gestalt's law of similarity

see similar objects as clusters


Gestalt's figure ground law

objects in fore ground are more prominent and obvious


Gestalt's law of closure

our perception will complete incomplete objects such as the lines in the IBM logo



starting to categorise to better understand & react to it
interpretation is highly subjective, different people will interpret stimuli different ways
affected by: values, culture, needs, beliefs, experiences, expectations
perceptual constancy: tendancy to interpret familiar objects as having standard shape, size, colour or location regardless of changes in image on retina. eg snow being white no matter whether day or night
size constancy
shape constancy
distance constancy
colour constancy
auditory constancy


size constancy

perception of an objects size will not change regardless of changes in distance or size on the retina


shape constancy

despite change in orientation we perceive the object as still being the same shape
eg. door opening. changes orientation but we know the door is still the same shape


distance constancy

relationship between apparent distance and physical distance
eg- moon looks closer when lower near the horizon


colour constancy

different shades and shadows show things as different but we see them as the same
colour of an object stays the same under varying conditions


auditory constancy

can perceive sounds despite them sounding different
different guitars sound different but we still know they're guitars
2 people sound different but they can both say the same word and we understand the word


bottom up/ data driven processing

perceptual experience is based entirely on the data available from our senses
requires no previous knowledge or learning


top down/ conceptually driven processing

perceptions influenced by expectation(perceptual set), beliefs and understanding
helps quickly make sense of environment around us
problem- hinders our ability to perceive things in a new and different way


sensory store

stimuli above sensory threshold go into sensory store
stays long enough for perception

iconic memory: visual info lasts 0.5-1sec
echoic memory: audio info and playback facility - lasts 2-8sec
if info deemed important we can continue information processing model


short term/ working memory

info held for 10-30 secs
max it can hold is 7 +or - 2 bits of info
only tend to remember last info- new replaces old
sensitive to interactions and distractions
spacial info held in visual code(visual spatial sketchpad)
verbal info in acoustic form in the phonological loop


methods to improve short term memory

repetition and rehearsal
to improve amount we can store- chunking, chunk lots of bits into fewer chunks


long term memory

unlimited- no limits, stored according to type
2 types: explicit and implicit


long term implicit memory

implicit memory- unconscious recall, no declarative, procedural memory (skills)