Informal Behaviorist Theory

See BEHAVIORIST THEORY.

INFORMATION/INFORMATION-PROCESSING THEORY. In general, information-processing (IP) theory is concerned with the way organisms attend to, select, and internalize information and how the information is used subsequently to make decisions and direct their behavior. Information theory was developed independently in the late 1940s and early 1950s by the English statistician Ronald A. Fisher (1890-1962) and the American mathematicians Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) and Claude E. Shannon (1916- ); and was pioneered, also, by the English mathematician Alan Mathison Turing (1912-1954). IP theories have generated research in various areas of psychology, including memory, perception, attention, language, problem-solving, and thinking. Information theory was introduced into psychology by the American psychologists George A. Miller (1920- ) and Frederick C. Frick (1918-1992) in 1949. The term IP theory refers to some common presuppositions and research methods involving specialized scientific language and concepts in which the primary empirical domain is intelligent behavior and mental processes. At the broadest level, IP research and theory are aimed at studying the properties of adaptive mechanisms concerning the apprehension, storage, retrieval, and use of information that may be initiated in either internal states or external environments (cf., the information-processing/ levels ofprocessing model of memory; and the domains of processing theory - the speculations that the more elaboration is involved in information processing at a given processing level, the more superior will be its recall; the principle of graceful degradation - a notion developed by the English psychologist David C. Marr (1945-1980) that in any information-processing system, the effects of an error should be restricted and should not produce completely false results; the human mind appears to obey this principle (most computers do not), because few of the errors it makes are catastrophic; serial processing theory, also called sequential processing and intermittent processing theories - holds that rapid shifting between different information sources accounts for the apparent ability to carry on separate cognitive functions simultaneously; it also states that two sets of stimuli cannot be processed simultaneously; on the other hand, parallel processing theory states that two separate sets of stimuli can be attended to simultaneously and, thus, accounts for the ability to carry on different cognitive functions at the same time; single channel model -posits that at any one time there can be only one cognitive aspect/function occurring for any individual; thus, it is impossible allegedly to have two thoughts simultaneously, even though with extremely rapid transitions between thoughts the person may believe that many thoughts are occurring simultaneously; and the principle of least commitment - the generalization that a task will be more efficiently executed if no decisions are taken that may subsequently have to be reversed, i.e., at each point in processing, a decision should be taken only when there is enough evidence to warrant it. IP theories that mainly originated in psychology derive from the behavioristic studies of K. Spence, the verbal learning experiments of J. McGeoch, the experimental analyses of attention and perception by D. Broadbent, and studies of human engineering and performance; cf., Fitt's law - named after the American psychologist Paul Morris Fitts (1912-1965) - is an equation that describes the movement between two similar targets, each of which must be touched in turn, where movement time decreases with the size of the target and increases with the amplitude of the movement (cf., Kvalseth, 1980, 1993). Other IP theories that originated outside psychology include M. Minsky's mathematical logic/computer science, N. Chomsky's transformational linguistics, and C. Shannon's communication engineering/information theory. Thus, IP theory has been influenced generally by viewpoints and advancements in the areas of behaviorism, engineering/information theory, linguistics, and computer science. In particular, in a learning context, IP theory has progressed through robotology (e.g., Ashby, 1952; cf., Ashby's law of requisite variety, which is a mathematical statement about IP that describes the procedure for choosing correct alternatives and rejecting incorrect ones), to computer models dealing with experimental synthesis of complex human behaviors and using specialized computer languages (e.g., Newell & Simon, 1963; cf., Miller, Galanter,

& Pribram, 1960) and "artificial intelligence" (e.g., Newell & Simon, 1972; Hunt, 1975). Since the 1950s and 1960s, and the major beginnings of modern information-processing models, there has been a proliferation of models, theories, simulations, and programs dealing with pattern recognition, perceptual learning, problem solving, language, and learning/memory. The development of computer technology has provided a valuable tool for understanding the complexities of human thought and information processing. See also ALGORITHMIC-HEURISTIC THEORY; ATTITUDE/ATTITUDE CHANGE, THEORIES OF; COMMUNICATION THEORY; CONTROL/SYSTEMS THEORY; DECISION-MAKING THEORIES; HICK'S LAW; INFORMATION INTEGRATION THEORY; LEARNING THEORIES AND LAWS; NETWORK MODEL OF INFORMATION PROCESSING; PARALLEL DISTRIBUTED PROCESSING MODEL; PATTERN/OBJECT RECOGNITION THEORY; SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM MEMORY, THEORIES OF. REFERENCES

Turing, A. M. (1936). On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem. Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society, 42, 230-265. McGeoch, J. (1942). The psychology of human learning: An introduction. New York: Van Rees Press. Shannon, C. (1948). A mathematical theory of communication. Bell System Technical Journal, 27, 379-423, 623656.

Wiener, N. (1948). Cybernetics. New York: Wiley.

Miller, G. A., & Frick, F. (1949). Statistical behavioristics and sequences of responses. Psychological Review, 56, 311-324.

Shannon, C., & Weaver, W. (1949). The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

York: Wiley. Fitts, P. M. (1954). The information capacity of the human motor system in con trolling the amplitude of movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 47, 381-391.

Miller, G. A. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63, 81-97.

Quastler, H. (1956). Information theory in psychology. New York: Free Press.

Spence, K. (1956). Behavior theory and conditioning. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Broadbent, D. (1958). Perception and communication. London: Pergamon Press.

Attneave, F. (1959). Applications of information theory to psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

(1960). Plans and the structure of behavior. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Newell, A., & Simon, H. (1963). Computers in psychology. In R. Luce, R. Bush, & E. Galanter (Eds.), Handbook of mathematical psychology. Vol. 1. New York: Wiley.

Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.

Minsky, M. (1967). Computation: Finite and infinite machines. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Newell, A., & Simon, H. (1972). Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Garner, W. (1974). The processing of information and structure. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Hunt, E. (1975). Artificial intelligence. New York: Academic Press.

Norman, D. (1977). Memory and attention: An introduction to human information processing. New York: Wiley.

Marr, D. C. (1982). Vision. San Francisco: Freeman.

INFORMATION INTEGRATION THEORY. The American social/cognitive psychologist Norman H. Anderson (1981, 1982, 1990,

2004) describes the theory of information integration (IIT), which is an attempt to develop a cognitive theory of everyday life and language, to serve as the basis for a scientific theory of social psychology, and to provide a unified theory (cf., Newell, 1990/1994) and general approach to social and developmental psychology. Thus, IIT covers many substantive areas in psychology ranging from psy-chophysics, perceptual illusions, psychological measurement, memory, social stereotypes, interpersonal attraction (cf., reinforcement theory), person cognition, language processing, and judgment/decision-making (cf., sequential decision theory - decisions made in sequences or separate steps, usually at each step of a procedure, to determine the acceptability of the data). The essential notion in IIT is that thought and action typically arise from multiple causes that occur together. In one case, IIT conceptualizes group decision-making and bargaining in terms of a theorem concerning "social averaging" that provides exact predictions about group compromise and decisions that focus on information communication and information integration. In another case, a functional theory of cognition is proposed that is founded on the axiom of pur-posiveness and grounded in cognitive algebra theory in which the functional nature of cognition manifests itself in an approach-avoidance axis of thought and action (represented by positive and negative values). Overall, the averaging model inherent in IIT provides a basis for developing heuristics for making parameter estimations, and for defining and measuring various psychological concepts (e.g., the notion of "weight" or "stimulus importance") that generates research and may be subjected to empirical validation and reliability testing. See also DECISION-MAKING THEORIES; IMPRESSION FORMATION, THEORIES OF; INFORMATION/INFORMATION-PROCESSING THEORY; INOCULATION THEORY; PERSUASION/INFLUENCE THEORIES; REINFORCEMENT THEORY. REFERENCES

Information integration theory and reinforcement theory as approaches to interpersonal attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 28, 301-312. Anderson, N. H. (1981). Foundations of information integration theory. New York: Academic Press. Anderson, N. H. (1982). Methods of information integration theory. New York: Academic Press. Kerkman, D. D. (1988). An exegesis of two theories of compensation development: Sequential decision theory and information integration theory. Developmental Review, 8, 323-360. Anderson, N. H. (Ed.) (1990). Contributions to information integration theory. Vol. 1: Cognition; Vol. 2: Social; Vol. 3: Developmental. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Newell, A. (1990/1994). Unified theories of cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Anderson, N. H. (1996). A functional theory of cognition. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Anderson, N. H. (2004). Unified theory. In J.

T. Jost & M. R. Banaji (Eds.), Per-spectivism in social psychology: The yin and yang of scientific progress. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.

INFORMATION-PROCESSING/LEVELS OF PROCESSING MODELS. See INFORMATION/INFORMATION-PROCESSING THEORY; PIAGET'S THEORY; SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM MEMORY, THEORIES OF.

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