Understanding the Information Processing Model for Cognitive Psychology

By Peter J. Hills, Michael Pake

Part of Cognitive Psychology For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cognitive psychologists use the information processing model to explain cognition. This model assumes that human cognition is a lot like a computer and the way the human brain works is by processing information through a series of stages:

  1. Perception: Input stage.

    People need to encode information from the world in order to process it and then respond to it appropriately. In part, perception is guided by experience, which changes the way people see the world. If information is attended to, it’s transferred from perception to memory.

  2. Memory: Storage centre.

    Information is stored in long-term memory and processed and used by short-term memory. All knowledge is stored in long-term memory.

  3. Thinking: A high-level cognitive function.

    Information from perception and memory is used to make decisions, to reason and to make deductions.

  4. Language: A high-level output stage of cognition.

    Often, the results of thinking need to be acted upon in terms of speaking or writing.

    The information processing model of cognition shows how information enters and leaves the mind.

    The information processing model of cognition shows how information enters and leaves the mind.