Principles That Define the Culutral Level of Analysis

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‘Outline principles that define CLOA. Explain how principles that define CLOA may be demonstrated in research.’

The first Principle states that Humans are information processors. Cognition refers to the mental tasks or thinking involved in human behavior. Thinking may involve memory, attention, perception, language and decision making at any one time. Cognitive psychologists see these cognitions are active systems; In between taking in and responding to information a number of processes are at work. Information can be transformed; reduced, elaborated, filtered, manipulated, selected, organized, stored and retrieved Therefore the human mind is seen as active system processing information, and cognitive psychologist’s aim to study these processes. Central to this information processing approach is the computer metaphor. One of the difficulties facing cognitive psychologists is that they were trying to study processes that are not directly observable. Consequently the computer revolution of the 1950 provided the terminology and metaphor they needed. People, like computers, acquire information from the environment (input). Both people and computers store information and retrieve it when applicable to current tasks; both are limited in the amount of information they can process at a given time; both transform information to produce new information; both return information to the environment (output). This information processing approach was adopted by Atkinson and Shiffrin in their Multistore Model of memory (1968). This model sees memory as an active process. Information flows in through the sensory stage (input). It then flows to the short-term memory before it is transferred to long term memory where it can be stored and later retrieved. A further example of information processing is the organization of information into schemas in the LTM. Schemas are mental models of the world. Information in LTM is stored in interrelated networks of these schemas and these schemas can affect retrieval. Simply put, schema theory states that all knowledge is organized into units. Within these units of knowledge, or schemata, is stored information. A schema, then, is a generalized description or a conceptual system for understanding knowledge-how knowledge is represented and how it is used. According to this theory, schemata represent knowledge about concepts: objects and the relationships they have with other objects, situations, events, sequences of events, actions, and sequences of actions. A simple example is to think of your schema for dog. Within that schema you most likely have knowledge about dogs in general (bark, four legs, teeth, hair, and tails) and probably information about specific dogs, such as collies (long hair, large, Lassie) or springer spaniels (English, docked tails, liver and white or black and white, Millie). You may also think of dogs within the greater context of animals and other living things; that is, dogs breathe, need food, and reproduce. Your knowledge of dogs might also include the fact that they are mammals and thus are warm-blooded and bear their young as opposed to laying eggs. Depending upon your personal experience, the knowledge of a dog as a pet (domesticated and loyal) or as an animal to fear (likely to bite or attack) may be a part of your schema. And so it goes with the development of a schema. Each new experience incorporates more information into one's schema.

The second principle of CLOA states that the mind can be studied scientifically. Cognitive processes are difficult to study. They often occur rapidly, and inside the mind so they cannot be observed directly. It is only the responses that participants make when given some cognitive task to perform that can tell us about cognitive processes. These tasks usually take place under tightly controlled lab experiments where the main aim is to isolate a particular component of the cognitive process for the study. One of the earliest and...
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