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MODULE 3

TOPIC: LEARNING AND COGNITION


• Learning
• Memory
• Thinking & Intelligence

KEY CONCEPT POINTS FOR UNDERSTANDING:

1. Learning is defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs through


experience.

2. Three major types of learning are:


A. Classical Conditioning: Classical conditioning states that learning
occurs when a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful
stimulus and acquires the capacity to elicit a response.
B. Operant Conditioning: In operant conditioning theory, operant
conditioning is a form of learning in which the consequences of
behavior produce changes in the probability of the behavior’s
occurrence.
C. Observational Learning: Social Cognitive theory states that
observational learning occurs when a person observes and imitates
someone else’s behavior. In order for observational learning to occur,
the elements of attention, retention, reproduction, and reinforcement
must be present.

3. "Metacognition" is often simply defined as "thinking about thinking" and can


be used to help students “learn how to learn.” According to Flavell (1979,
1987), metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and
metacognitive experiences or regulation (i.e., strategies). Knowledge is
considered to be metacognitive if it is actively used in a strategic manner to
ensure that a goal is met. Cognitive strategies are used to help achieve a
particular goal while metacognitive strategies are used to ensure that the goal
has been reached. (Livingston, 1997).
A. Metacognition refers to higher order thinking, which involves active
control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Activities
such as planning how to approach a given learning task, monitoring
comprehension, and evaluating progress toward the completion of a
task are metacognitive in nature. Metacognition plays a role in
successful learning, and has been associated with intelligence; people
with greater metacognitive abilities tend to be more successful
thinkers (Livingston, 1997).

B. Metacognitive knowledge involves executive monitoring processes


directed at the acquisition of information about thinking processes.
They involve decisions that help: to identify the task on which one is
currently working, to check on current progress of that work, to
evaluate that progress, and to predict what the outcome of that
progress will be.

C. Metacognitive strategies involve executive regulation processes


directed at the regulation of the course of thinking. They involve
decisions that help: to allocate resources to the current task, to
determine the order of steps to be taken to complete the task, and to
set the intensity or the speed at which one should work the task.

4. Memory is defined as the retention of information over time and involves the
processes of encoding, storage, and retrieval.

5. Encoding is the way in which information is processed for storage in memory.


Attention is needed to begin the process of memory encoding. Different types of
rehearsal have differential increases in length of time that information can be
retained in memory. Effective encoding methods are deep processing,
elaboration, imagery, and organization. Chunking is an organizational strategy
that involves grouping information into higher-order units that can be
remembered as single units.

6. Storage refers to how information is retained over time and how it is


represented in memory. The Atkinson and Shiffrin model of memory states that
memory is a system of three memory stages: sensory, short-term, and long-
term memory. To move information to long-term memory, information must
first pass through sensory memory and short-term (working) memory
respectively. Information being retrieved must move from long-term memory
into working memory to be manipulated. Each memory store has duration for
holding information, and capacity.

7. Memories can be stored as declarative (explicit) memories or nondeclarative


(implicit) memories. Two subtypes of explicit memory are episodic and
semantic. The three subsystems of implicit memory are procedural memory,
priming, and classical conditioning.

8. Four main theories of how long-term memory is organized are:


A. Hierarchies: Items are organized hierarchically, from general to specific
classes.
B. Semantic Networks: Information in memory is arranged in hierarchies
with typical information located close to central nodes and untypical
information located further away.
C. Schemas: Information is filtered through personal schemas (concepts
or frameworks through which information is interpreted and
organized). A script is a schema for an event that provides information
about physical features, people, and typical occurrences.
D. Connectionist networks: Multiple connections throughout the brain
work together to produce a single memory.

9. Memory retrieval is taking information out of storage. Retrieval cues are


important, and can be seen in different retrieval tasks such as recognition and
recall. The tip-of-the-tongue phenomena and serial position effect are examples
of difficulties with retrieval.

10. Autobiographical memories are less about facts and more about meaning.
Flashbulb memories are all about emotional meaning. Memories with emotional
content are generally more vivid and more accurate than memories of everyday
events. However, traumatic memories may become repressed memories that
may resurface at a later time.
11. Recovery of repressed childhood memory, particularly about abuse experiences,
has become controversial because of the potential for the creation of false
memory. Another challenge to the accuracy of memory involves eyewitness
testimony research on the distortion, bias, and inaccuracy in memory. Existing
memories can be altered by exposure to new information.

12. Forgetting involves encoding failure and retrieval failure. Causes of forgetting
are: interference, decay, motivated forgetting, or the brain’s condition.
Interference theory states that information is forgotten because other
information gets in the way of what has to be recalled. Two kinds of interference
are proactive and retroactive. Decay theory suggests that the passage of time
increases forgetting.

13. Mnemonics are specific visual and verbal memory aids. Examples of mnemonic
strategies are: method of loci, keyword method, acronyms.

14. Problem solving is defined as the active process of trying to transform the initial
state of a problem into the desired one by overcoming obstacles obstructing the
path to a solution. All problems contain three important characteristics: givens,
a goal, and obstacles. Four steps in the process of problem solving are: (1) find
and frame the problem, (2) develop good problem-solving strategies, (3)
evaluate solutions, and (4) rethink and redefine problems and solutions over
time. Some obstacles to solving problems are fixation, and inadequate
motivation or unregulated emotion.

15. Experts solve problems differently than novices do because they are better than
novices in the following ways: knowledge base, domain memory, strategies, and
deliberate practice.

16. Intelligence consists of the ability to solve problems and to adapt and learn from
everyday experiences. It is measured by intelligence tests, which should meet
the criteria of validity, reliability, and standardization.

17. Alternative conceptions of intelligence include Spearman’s two-factor theory,


Thurstone’s multiple-factor theory, Gardner’s multiple-intelligences theory,
Sternberg’s triarchic theory, and Salovy and Mayer’s emotional intelligence.

18. Both heredity and the environment have influence on intelligence. Genetic
markers for intelligence on specific chromosomes have been found. On the
other hand, research has shown that environmental influences such as
parenting, intervention programs for children at risk for having low IQs, and
sociohistorical changes have effects on intelligence.

19. Creativity is the ability to produce something that is both original and
worthwhile. Creative people tend to be divergent thinkers who can see more
than one possible answer to a question. Most creative people are quite
intelligent, but intelligent people may not necessarily be creative.