We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Cognitive Information Processing?

By Emily Daw
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Cognitive information processing is a collection of theories about how the mind learns by taking in, processing and storing information. Most versions of the theory emphasize three components of memory: sensory memory, short-term or "working" memory, and long-term memory. By the latter half of the 20th century, cognitive information processing theories had largely replaced behaviorist theory, but there are some areas of learning that are not adequately explained by either framework.

The Atkinson-Shiffrin model of cognitive information deals with the way sensory input eventually becomes knowledge. At any given moment, a person's mind is bombarded with various stimuli: sights, sounds, smells, etc. The vast majority of these stimuli are stored briefly in sensory memory, but forgotten within a few seconds.

If, however, the person is intentionally paying attention to particular sensory input, it becomes part of short-term memory. Information in short-term memory can be analyzed in relationship to its immediate context and to relevant previous knowledge. If the knowledge properly integrated into other relevant knowledge, it becomes integrated with that information and stored with it in long-term memory.

This and other variations on cognitive information processing theory see knowledge as being gained and stored in a computer-like network. In contrast, earlier theories of learning like the behaviorist views of B.F. Skinner emphasized the importance of learning by repetition. In Skinner's model, a learner receives positive feedback for remembering information correctly and negative feedback for remembering incorrectly, so learning is reinforced by positive consequences. Concerning the cognitive information processing theory, however, the role of feedback is to aid in understanding information. When people receive negative feedback they learn that something in their understanding of information is incorrect, and they modify their understanding accordingly.

Both theories of learning have direct influence on education. Cognitive information processing theorists emphasize the necessity of actively engaging learners in the information in order for it to become part of long-term memory. Behaviorists emphasize continually reinforcing a learner's knowledge. Taken together, the two models form a large portion of the methods used in modern classrooms.

There are, however, some major shortcomings in cognitive information processing. Some evidence suggests that not all information has to be received and processed consciously in order to be stored. For instance, a person might learn the words to a popular song by hearing it over and over on the radio, without ever intentionally focusing attention on it. Other learned behaviors, such as riding a bike or driving a standard-transmission car, involve a combination of semi-automatic mental and physical processes do not fit neatly into either model.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.