Information Processing - Essay Example

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Our sensory receptors are constantly under the influence of multiple signals, and though these can act independently from each other (e.g. sounds and smells), the human brain is able to combine them into images and scenes, therefore creating a whole picture of the surrounding world:
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Information Processing
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Download file to see previous pages The way human brain processes information about the outer world depends on different factors and, above all, upon the context. For instance, if a person looks at some complicated picture, e.g. a portrait, it is enough to cast one glance at what is depicted on it, whereas comprehending the same picture would hardly be possible if this person begins analysing different parts of this portrait separately, one by one. This peculiarity of information processing is due to the fact that the brain operates the sensory signals that are perceived together, not separately. (Schweizer 1998, p. 89)
The visual signals normally reach our eyes simultaneously and therefore in case with visual images the processing of information begins from the retina. The sounds that constitute speech reach the hearing organs successively, and that is why for processing a sound image it should first be stored in short-term memory. For the identification of the already known images, the brain compares the information recorded in the short-time memory with the classes of images contained in the long-term memory that contain the information about the previous experience that has been collected in the process of studying and communicating.
One of the challenging aspects of processing information is perception of stimulus in the situations where there are a lot of similar symbols - e.g. when someone is talking to another person in a noisy room. In such situations, though the stream of sounds produced by the interlocutor is accompanied by other sounds, it is normally possible to comprehend the speech. Quite a simple example where the context of information creates the context is the illusions of sound continuation or phonetic restoration. A brilliant example of this phenomenon was described by Richard Warren: if you hear some phrase whose meaning you cannot catch, but you definitely hear its ending - '... eel is on the'
Now, if you put the word 'orange' at the end of this phrase, you will hear 'peel is on the orange'; if the word is 'wagon', the phrase will sound as 'wheel is on the wagon'; if it is 'shoe' you will perceive the phrase as 'heel is on the shoe'. (Warren 1970) This experiment shows that the sound stimulus in itself (noise + 'eel') fails to determine unambiguously what will be heard by the recipient.
Attention is the process of sorting the information that comes from outside in accordance with the importance of the tasks a person has. There are several kinds of attention: active (voluntary) attention that is conditioned by a certain conscious goal, and automatic (involuntary) attention that is actualized under the influence of unexpected and new stimuli in the form of orientating reflex. (Lachman & Lachman 1979, pp. 183 - 185)
The effectiveness of attention can be determined by its level (concentration and intensity of attention), volume, speed of switching to other objects, and stability. It has been proved that the attention processes are connected with functioning of the corpus collosum, the left part of the brain ensuring selective attention and the right part - maintaining the general level of awareness.
Memory is a very important phenomenon that is crucial for our lives. Thanks to it, we are able to use our own experience and the experience of other people in our lives. There is short-term and long-term memory. Short-term memory is also called operative memory. To illustrate the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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