Your Learning Objectives for the Week: Describe the major theories of cognition
Interpret the historical and contemporary context of cognition
Discuss memory models and processes including knowledge representation and organization
Evaluate research in the field of cognitive psychology. Encoding, retrieving, and memory distortion.
The following scenarios describe issues with memory and memorizing. Answer the questions for each scenario. Brian always crams for tests and stays up throughout the night before a test to study. He usually performs well in the tests and thinks he will do well in the cumulative final exam as well. Explain some of the issues that Brian will face regarding his success for the cumulative exam.
Your Internet connection isn’t working properly, and you call customer service. You encounter an automatic menu and want to listen to all the selections to choose the option that best describes your problem. As you listen to the sixth option, you realize you cannot remember the first four options. Therefore, you have to listen to the options all over again. Explain what could have contributed to your forgetting the first four options.
Week 6 Discussion
For years, philosophers have attempted to understand cognition by studying the human mind. These philosophers include Plato and Aristotle, who made the first attempts to explain the nature of human knowledge (“Cognitive Science”, 2018, par. 1). The continuous research in this area has led to the development of three main theories of cognition and various memory models, which provide a comprehensive view of the nature and changes of the human mental processes.
Historical and Contemporary Context of Cognition
Literature suggests that the context of cognition has evolved significantly since the Ancient Greeks, from theoretical to a laboratory-informed setting. Most notably, historically, cognition was studied theoretically, and the mind remained the province of philosophy (“Cognitive Science”, 2018, par. 1). However, the contemporary context of cognition is more laboratory facilitated whereby the human mental operations are theorized and tested using human participants.
The evolution of the study of the human mind has led to the development of three theories of cognition, namely Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory, Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, and information-processing theory. Most notably, Piaget’s philosophy focuses on the development of cognitive ability among children. The theory states that all children, regardless of their environmental context and cultural diversity, journey through sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operations, and formal operations stages of development (Babakr, Mohamedamin & Kakamad, 2019, p.519). The theory suggests that children’s cognitive ability keeps changing as they transition to adolescence. Vygotsky’s cognitive development theory argues that culture serves as a mediator for the formation of cognitive skills (Goldstein & Naglieri, 2011, p.157). It is proposed that abilities such as memory are constructed by the culture in which a child grows. Conversely, the information-processing theory of cognition analogizes the human brain with a computer. Notably, the theory suggests that knowledge is acquired through the encoding of information into human memory. Overall, the three theories attempt to explain the development of human cognition in different lenses.
Besides the three theories, there are multiple memory theories associated with human cognition. These theories include levels of processing, working memory model, and multi-store model. Notably, a significant number of these theories suggest that human memory comprises three processes; encoding, storage, and retrieval.
Furthermore, knowledge representation and organization are essential concepts in the field of cognitive psychology as they explain the manner in which information is encoded in the human brain. Most notably, knowledge representation refers to the organization of symbols of experience or thought in the human mind in such a way that they effect a systematic representation of the experience as a means of understanding and explaining it to others (Pirnay-Dummer & Seel, 2012, p.101). On the other hand, knowledge organization indicates the internal process of structuring knowledge in the human brain (Pirnay-Dummer & Seel, 2012, p.101). For example, the numeral “5” is organized in the human mind to mean five, and this, in turn, affects the human understanding of the symbol when it is displayed. Overall, the two concepts elaborate cognition and knowledge acquisition as a process that incorporates symbolic representation and organization of objects and events in the human mind.
One of the issues that Brian may face regarding success for the cumulative exam is the consolidation of what he studies in the long-term memory. Most notably, Brian relies heavily on rote memorization, which implies that there exists a deficit in the encoding process. Therefore, he may not recall the information crammed during tests for perusal in the cumulative exam.
One of the factors that may have contributed to forgetting the first four options in the list is the inability to retrieve a memory, as suggested by the decay theory. Most notably, as I listened to new options in the list, a memory trace may have been created, thus inhibiting the retrieval of the initially acquired information.
“Cognitive science” (2018, September 24). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cognitive-science/
Babakr, Z.H., Mohamedamin, P., & Kakamad, K. (2019). Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory: Critical review. Education Quarterly Reviews, 2(3), 517-524. doi: 10.31014/aior.1993.02.03.84
Goldstein, S., & Naglieri, J.A. (2011). Encyclopedia of child behavior and development. New York, NY: Springer Verlag.
Pirnay-Dummer, P., Seel, N. (2012). Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning. Berlin, Germany: Springer Science & Business Media