Information Processing Theory

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Information processing is a cognitive theoretical framework that focuses on how knowledge enters and is stored and retrieved from our memory.

Cognitive psychologists believed that cognitive process influenced the nature of what is learned. They considered learning as largely an internal process, not an external behavior change (as behavior theorist thought). They looked into hoe we receive, perceive, store and retrieve information. They believed that how a person thinks about and interprets what he/she receives shapes what he/she will learn. All these notions comprise what is called INFORMATION PROCESSING THEORY.

IPT describes how the learner receives information (stimuli) from the environment through the senses and what takes place in between determines whether the information will continue to pass through the sensory register, then the short term memory and the long term memory. Certain factors would also determine whether the information will be retrieved or “remembered” when the learner needs it.


The stages of Information Processing Theory involve the functioning of the senses, sensory register, short term memory and the long term memory. Basically, IPT asserts three primary stages in the progression of external information becoming incorporated into the internal cognitive structure of choice.

The Three Primary Stages in IPT are:

✓ Encoding

- Information is sensed, perceived, and attended to.

✓ Storage

- Information is stored for either a brief or extended period of time, depending upon the process following encoding.

✓ Retrieval

- Information is brought back at the appropriate time, and reactivated for use on a current task, the true measure of effective memory.
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