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m (Cognitive load moved to Human channel capacity: Align thesaurus)
(Replacing page with '{{CogPsy}} '''Human channel capacity''' is finite because the number of signals and information that can be processed in attention, short term memory, and [[working m...')
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''Cognitive Load''' is a term that refers to the load on [[working memory]] during [[problem solving]], thinking and reasoning (including perception, memory, language, etc.)<ref name="Sweller, 1988">{{cite journal|
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'''Human channel capacity''' is finite because the number of signals and information that can be processed in [[attention]], [[short term memory]], and [[working memory]] etc are limitied.
author=Sweller, J.|
 
year=1988|
 
title= Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects on learning|
 
journal= Cognitive Science|
 
volume=12|
 
issue=1|
 
pages=257-285}}</ref>
 
   
Most would agree that people learn better when they can build on what they already understand (known as a [[schema (psychology)|schema]]). But the more a person has to learn in a shorter amount of time, the more difficult it is to process that information in working memory.
 
   
Consider the difference between having to study a subject in one's native language versus trying to study a subject in a foreign language. The ''cognitive load'' is much higher in the second instance because the brain must work to translate the language while simultaneously trying to understand the new information.
 
   
Another aspect of 'cognitive load theory involves understanding how many discrete units of information can be retained in [[short term memory]] before information loss occurs. An example that seems to be commonly cited of this principle is the use of 7-digit phone numbers, based on the theory that most people can only retain seven "chunks" of information in their short term memory. Refer to [[Chunking (psychology)]].
 
 
'''Cognitive Load Theory''', as defined by [[John Sweller|Sweller]] (1988) proposes optimum learning occurs in humans when the load on working memory is kept to a minimum to best facilitate the changes in long term memory.<ref name="Sweller, 1988"/>
 
 
==The history of cognitive load theory==
 
The history of cognitive load theory can be traced back to the beginning of Cognitive Science and the work of [[George_A._Miller|G.A. Miller]] (1956). Miller was perhaps the first to suggest our [[Working memory#Working memory capacity|working memory capacity]] was limited in his classic paper <ref name="Miller, 1956">{{cite journal|
 
author=Miller, G.A.|
 
year=1956|
 
title= The magic number seven plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity to process information|
 
url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven%2C_Plus_or_Minus_Two |
 
journal=Psychological Review|
 
volume=63|
 
pages=81-97}}</ref>. He suggested we are only able to hold seven plus or minus two digits of information in our short term memories. Miller's early work was built upon by many researchers in the ensuing decades. Perhaps most notably by that of Simon and Chase (1973) who also used the term "chunk" to describe how experts use their short term memories. As novices learn, they begin to see patterns in the world around them.<ref name="Simon and Chase, 1973">{{cite journal|
 
author=Chase, W.G. & Simon, H.A.|
 
year=1973|
 
title= Perception in chess|
 
journal= Cognitive Psychology|
 
volume=4|
 
issue=1|
 
pages=55-81}}</ref> These patterns can be combined with other patterns... this chunking of memory components has also been described as [[schema]] construction.
 
 
[[John Sweller]] developed cognitive load theory while studying problem solving <ref name="Sweller, 1988"/>. While studying learners as they solved problems, he and his associates found that learners often use a problem solving strategy called [[means-ends analysis]]. He suggests problem solving by means-ends analysis requires a relatively large amount of cognitive processing capacity, which may not be devoted to schema construction. Instead of problem solving, Sweller suggests Instructional designers should limit cognitive load by designing instructional materials like worked-examples, or goal-free problems.
 
 
In the 1990s, Cognitive load theory was applied in several contexts and the empirical results from these studies led to the demonstration of several learning effects: the completion-problem effect <ref name="Paas, 1992">{{cite journal|
 
author=Paas, F.|
 
year=1992|
 
title= Training strategies for attaining transfer of problem-solving skill in statistics: A cognitive-load approach|
 
journal= Journal of Educational Psychology|
 
volume=84|
 
issue=|
 
pages=429–434}}</ref>; [[Multimedia learning|Modality effect]] <ref name="Moreno & Mayer, 1999">{{cite journal|
 
author=Moreno, R., & Mayer, R.|
 
year=1999|
 
title= Cognitive principles of multimedia learning: The role of modality and contiguity|
 
journal= Journal of Educational Psychology|
 
volume=91|
 
issue=|
 
pages=358-368}}</ref><ref name="Mousavi, Low, & Sweller, 1995">{{cite journal|
 
author=Mousavi, S., Low, R., & Sweller, J.|
 
year=1995|
 
title= Reducing cognitive load by mixing auditory and visual presentation modes|
 
journal= Journal of Educational Psychology|
 
volume=87|
 
issue=2|
 
pages=319-334}}</ref>; [[Split-attention effect]] <ref name="Chandler and Sweller, 1992">{{cite journal|
 
author=Chandler, P., & Sweller, J.|
 
year=1992|
 
title= The split-attention effect as a factor in the design of instruction|
 
journal= British Journal of Educational Psychology|
 
volume=62|
 
issue=|
 
pages=233-246}}</ref>; the [[Worked-example effect]]<ref name="Cooper & Sweller, 1987">{{cite journal|
 
author=Cooper, G., & Sweller, J.|
 
year=1987|
 
title= Effects of schema acquisition and rule automation on mathematical problem-solving transfer|
 
journal= Journal of Educational Psychology|
 
volume=79|
 
issue=4|
 
pages=347-362}}</ref>
 
<ref name="Sweller & Cooper, 1985">{{cite journal|
 
author=Sweller, J., & Cooper, G. A.|
 
year=1985|
 
title= The use of worked examples as a substitute for problem solving in learning algebra|
 
journal= Cognition and Instruction|
 
volume=2|
 
issue=1|
 
pages=59-89}}</ref> and the expertise reversal effect <ref name="Kalyuga, Ayres, Chandler, and Sweller, 2003">{{cite journal|
 
author=Kalyuga,S., Ayres,P. Chandler,P and Sweller,J.|
 
year=2003|
 
title= The Expertise Reversal Effect|
 
journal= Educational Psychologist|
 
volume=38|
 
issue=1|
 
pages=23–31}}</ref>.
 
 
==The human cognitive architecture and Instructional design==
 
Cognitive load theory has been used to describe the architecture of human [[cognition]]. It has been suggested that Cognitive load has broad implications for [[Instructional design]] (Sweller, 1999). This theory provides a general framework for instructional designers for it allows them to control the conditions of learning within an environment or more generally within most instructional materials. Specifically it provides empirically-based guidelines that help instructional designers to minimize extraneous cognitive load during learning.
 
 
[[John Sweller]]'s theory employs [[information processing]] theory to emphasize the inherent limitations of [[working memory]]. In addition it uses [[Schema (psychology)|schemas]] as the relevant unit of analysis for the design of instructional materials.
 
 
This theory differentiates between three types of cognitive load: [[intrinsic cognitive load]], [[germane cognitive load]], and [[extraneous cognitive load]] <ref name="Sweller, van Merriënboer, and Paas, 1998">{{cite journal|
 
author=Sweller, J., Van Merrienboer, J., & Paas, F.|
 
year=1998|
 
title= Cognitive architecture and instructional design|
 
journal= Educational Psychology Review|
 
volume=10|
 
issue=|
 
pages=251-296
 
}}</ref>
 
 
 
===Intrinsic cognitive load===
 
The term "Intrinsic cognitive load" was first described by Chandler and Sweller (1991).<ref name="Chandler & Sweller, 1991">{{cite journal|
 
author=Chandler, P. & Sweller, J.|
 
year=1991|
 
title= Cognitive Load Theory and the Format of Instruction|
 
journal= Cognition and Instruction|
 
volume=8|
 
issue=4|
 
pages=293-332}}</ref> Accordingly all instruction has an inherent difficulty associated with it (e.g., the calculation of 2 + 2, versus solving a [[differential equation]] ). This inherent difficulty may not be altered by an instructor. However many schemas may be broken into individual "subschemas" and taught in isolation, to be later brought back together and described as a combined whole <ref name="Clark, Nguyen, and Sweller, 2006">[http://www.cogtech.usc.edu/publications/kirschner_Sweller_Clark.pdf Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., and Clark, R. E. (2006) Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: an analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist 41 (2) 75-86]</ref>.
 
 
===Extraneous cognitive load===
 
Extraneous load is that load which instructional designers do have some ability to control. This load can be attributed to the design of the instructional materials.
 
 
Sweller provides a wonderful example of extraneous cognitive load in his 2006 book, when he describes two possible ways to describe a square to a student <ref name="Clark, Nguyen, and Sweller, 2006">{{cite book|
 
author=Clark, R., Nguyen, F., and Sweller, J.|
 
year=2006|
 
title=Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load|
 
location=San Francisco | publisher=Pfeiffer|
 
id=ISBN 0-7879-7728-4}}</ref>. A square is a visual and should be described using a visual medium. Certainly an instructor can describe a square in a verbal medium, but it takes just a second and far less effort to see what the instructor is talking about when a learner is shown a square, rather than having one described verbally. In this instance, the efficiency of the visual medium is preferred. This is because it does not unduly load the learner with unnecessary information. This unnecessary cognitive load is described as extraneous cognitive load.
 
 
===Germane cognitive load===
 
Germane load was first described by Sweller, van Merrienboer and Paas in 1998.<ref name="Sweller, van Merriënboer, and Paas, 1998"/> It is that load devoted to the processing, construction and automation of [[schema (psychology)|schemata]]. While intrinsic load is generally thought to be immutable, instructional designers can manipulate extraneous and germane load. It is suggested that they limit extraneous load and promote germane load <ref name="Sweller, van Merriënboer, and Paas, 1998"/>.
 
 
==Individual differences in processing capacity==
 
Scandura (1971) and Voorhies & Scandura (1977) found evidence that individuals systematically differ in their processing capacity. <ref name="Scandura, 1971">{{cite journal|
 
author=Scandura, J.M.|
 
year=1971|
 
title = Deterministic theorizing in structural learning: Three levels of empiricism.|
 
journal = Journal of Structural Learning|
 
volume 3|
 
pages =21-53|
 
}}</ref>
 
<ref name="Voorhies & Scandura, 1977">{{cite book|
 
author=Voorhies, D. & Scandura, J.M. |
 
year=1977 |
 
title = Determination of memory load in information processing.|
 
book = Problem Solving, NY: Academic Press|
 
chapter= 7|
 
pages = 299-316 |
 
}}</ref> A series of experiments support the assumption that each individual has a fixed capacity for processing information, irrespective of the task in question, or more accurately, irrespective of the processes an individual uses in solving any given task. Tasks ranged from remembering simple lists, lists supplemented with a fixed constant and simple arithmetic.
 
 
Identifying the processing capacity of individuals could be extremely useful in further adapting instruction (or predicating the behavior) of individuals. Accordingly, further research would clearly be desirable. It should be cautioned that this type of research is very demanding. First, it is essential to compute the memory load imposed by detailed analysis of the processes to be used. Second, it is essential to insure that individual subjects are actually using those processes. The latter requires intensive pre-training.
 
 
==Ergonomics==
 
The ergonomic approach seeks a quantitative neurophysiological expression of cognitive load which can be measured using common instruments. Fredericks T.K., Choi S.D,. Hart J., Butt S.E., and Mital A. (2005), for example, used the [[heart rate]]-[[blood pressure]] product (RPP) as a measure of both cognitive and physical occupational workload.<ref name="Fredericks et al., 2005">{{cite journal|
 
author=Fredericks T.K., Choi S.D,. Hart J., Butt S.E., and Mital A.|
 
year=2005|
 
title= |
 
journal= International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics|
 
volume=35|
 
issue=12|
 
pages=1097-1107}}</ref> They believe that it may be possible to use RPP measures to set limits on workloads and for establishing work allowance.
 
 
==Effects of heavy cognitive load==
 
Some are:
 
* [[error]]
 
* [[Fundamental Attribution Error]]
 
 
==For Further reading==
 
 
* Barrett, H. C., Frederick, D., Haselton, M., & Kurzban, R. (2006). Can manipulations of cognitive load be used to test evolutionary hypotheses? ''Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91,'' 513-518. [http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/barrett/Barrett%20Frederick%20Haselton%20Kurzban%202006.pdf Full text]
 
* [http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet6/cooper.html Cooper, G. (1990) Cognitive load theory as an aid for instructional design. Australian Journal of Educational Technology. 6(2), 108-113.]
 
* Cooper, Graham (1998). [http://education.arts.unsw.edu.au/staff/sweller/clt/index.html "Research into Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design at UNSW"].
 
* [http://education.arts.unsw.edu.au/news/conferences.html UNSW Cognitive Load Theory Conference - Sydney Australia 24-26 March 2007]
 
* {{cite journal|
 
author=Sweller, J.|
 
year=1994|
 
title=Cognitive Load Theory, learning difficulty, and instructional design|
 
journal=Learning and Instruction|
 
volume=4|
 
pages=295-312}}
 
* {{cite book|
 
author=Sweller, J.|
 
year=1999|
 
title=Instructional design in technical areas|
 
location=Camberwell, Australia | publisher=Australian Council for Educational Research|
 
id=ISBN 0-86431-312-8}}
 
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
* [[Extraneous cognitive load]]
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*[[Channel capacity]]
* [[Germane cognitive load]]
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*[[Cognitive load]]
* [[Intrinsic cognitive load]]
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*[[Cognitive processing speed]]
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*[[Human information storage]]
==References==
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*[[Information theory]]
{{reflist}}
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*[[The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two]]
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*[[Work load]]
   
   
[[Category:Pedagogy]]
 
[[Category:Educational psychology]]
 
[[Category:Educational technology]]
 
[[Category:Learning]]
 
   
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Revision as of 14:18, February 12, 2008

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Human channel capacity is finite because the number of signals and information that can be processed in attention, short term memory, and working memory etc are limitied.



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