chapter
23 Pages

People as information processors

Cognitive Psychology

This chapter examines how the information-processing approach has helped shape the multi-store model (MSM) and other major accounts of human memory. Broadbent's attempts to explain selective attention represents an information-processing approach; also helped to popularize analogies between human memory systems and physical storage systems. As a number of researchers have pointed out, Ebbinghaus' associationist approach characterizes memory as a passive process, whereby lists of items are simply repeated enough times to be automatically stored in memory. Mainstream memory research has built on Ebbinghaus' focus on achieved performance, with major theories trying to account for the performance data. Bartlett criticized Ebbinghaus' use of nonsense syllables for excluding 'all that is most central to human memory': his search for the pure 'mechanism' of recall and recognition was deliberately divorced from both context and meaning. A postmodernist, Social Constructionist account of memory is very much in keeping with Bartlett's view of remembering as located in everyday practice.