Information Processing Theory

Information processing theory, which arose in the 1940s and 1950s, seeks to explain how the mind functions and encompasses a range of processes, including gathering, manipulating, storing, retrieving, and classifying information. While information processing theories are used to inform instructional design and approaches to learning, these theories tend to emphasize the understanding of how information is processed rather than how learning happens. This entry examines the core beliefs of information processing theory as well as its applications to theories of intelligence and development and to learning and instruction.

Unlike the behaviorist perspective about how the human mind functions, which focuses on how people respond to stimuli, information processing theory posits that the human mind is like a computer or information processor. Information is gathered through the ...

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