Information Processing

Topic: Information Processing

Posted by: Lisa

Key Terms:

consciousness: our awareness of ourselves and our environment


We process a great deal of information outside our awareness. For example, we perform well-learned tasks automatically , as when key-boarding without attending to where the letters are. Also, when we meet someone, we unconsciously acknowledge the person’s gender, age, and appearance. However, While processing information unconsciously, beneath the surface, subconscious information processing occurs simultaneously. For example, when we see a bird fly, we are consciously aware of the result of our cognitive processing, but we’re not aware of our subprocessing of the bird’s color, form, movement, distance and identity.
Consciousness, ultimately emerges from the interaction of individual events, as a chord emerges from the interaction of different notes in a guitar. Therefore, consciousness is known to lag behind the brain’s events that evoke it. For example, when you are asked to press a button when you feel a tap, you can respond in 1/10th of a respond, which is less time than it takes to become conscious that you have responded.
Consciousness is relatively slow and has limited capacity, but is skilled at solving novel problems, because they require our conscious attention. For example, if you try to move your right foot in a smooth counterclockwise circle while you write the number 3 repeatedly with your right hand, it will be extremely difficult. This is because both tasks require conscious attention, and therefore cannot be achieved simultaneously. If time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once, then consciousness is nature’s way of keeping us from thinking and doing everything at once.

Podcast Summary:

See Also:

What We Encode
Getting Information In & How We Encode
Thinking & Concepts

External Links:

The Information Processing Approach to Cognition

Information Processing
Cognition and Information Processing

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