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6.4 COGNITIVE APPROACH OR THE INFORMATION PROCESSING APPROACH

Proponents of the information-processing approach to learning believe they are highly capable. Children attend to information being presented and tinker with it. They develop strategies for remembering. They form concepts. They reason and solve problems.

Information, Memory, and Thinking

The information-processing approach emphasizes that children manipulate information, monitor it, and strategize about it. Central to this approach are the processes of memory and thinking. According to the information- processing approach, children develop a gradually increasing capacity for processing information, which allows them to acquire increasingly complex knowledge and skills.

Behaviourism and associative model of learning was a dominant force in psychology until the 1950s and 1960s, when many psychologists began to acknowledge that they could not explain children’s learning without referring to mental processes such as memory and thinking. The term cognitive psychology became a label for approaches that sought to explain behavior by examining mental processes. Although a number of factors stimulated the growth of cognitive psychology, none was more important than the development of computers. The first modern computer, developed by John von Neumann in the late 1940s, showed that inanimate machines could perform logical operations. This suggested that some mental operations might be carried out by computers, possibly telling us something about the way human cognition works. Cognitive psychologists often draw analogies to computers to help explain the relation between cognition and the brain. The physical brain is compared to the computer’s hardware, cognition to its software. Although computers and software aren’t perfect analogies for brains and cognitive activities, nonetheless, the comparison contributed to our thinking about the child’s mind as an active information-processing system.

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