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Human Information Processing - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780124509504, 9781483218571

Human Information Processing

1st Edition

An Introduction to Psychology

Authors: Peter H. Lindsay Donald A. Norman
eBook ISBN: 9781483218571
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st January 1972
Page Count: 766
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Human Information Processing: An Introduction to Psychology aims to convey the excitement of modern experimental psychology to the beginning student. The book discusses the organization of auditory perceptions; neural information processing; and the theories of pattern recognition. The text also describes the visual system; the dimensions of vision; the auditory system; and the dimensions of sound. The neural basis of memory; transient memories; the structure of memory; and memory processes are also considered. The book further tackles language acquisition; the process of learning and cognitive development; problem solving; and decision making. The text also looks into motivation and the biochemical responses to stress. Psychologists and students taking psychology and related courses will find the book useful."

Table of Contents



Notes to the Reader

1. Human Perception

Interpreting Sensory Messages

Matching templates

Pattern Recognition

Organizing degraded images

Competing organizations

OrganizinG Auditory Perceptions

Organization without meaning

Making the sensory data fit the interpretation

The Importance of Rules

Perception of space

The importance of context

Feature Analysis

Stopping the image


What to Look at for Motion Aftereffects

The explanation of aftereffects

Orientation-specific color adaptation

Perception without Features

Seeing with the skin

Suggested Readings



2. Neural Information Processing

The Eye of a Frog

The Anatomy of Detectors

Physiological Procedures

The neuron

Recording neural responses

Designing Neural Circuits

Basic Circuits

The building blocks

Extracting Contours

Sensitivity versus specificity

Lateral inhibition

Circuits for extracting contours

Center-surround fields

On-off circuits

Responses with Time

Circuits for producing transient responses

Responding to Movement

Circuits for detecting movement

Signal Processing in the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus

Extracting Features

Simple cells


Complex cells

Hypercomplex cells


Suggested Readings

Models of the nervous system

3. Theories of Pattern Recognition


Features for recognizing letters

How to build pandemoniums

Features for recognizing speech

Feature detectors for speech

Summary of feature analysis

Analysis by Synthesis

A matter of context

Wet socks

The importance of redundancy

Synthesizing a sensory message

The Sequence of Operations

Features versus Expectations

Suggested Readings

4. The Visual System



The Optical Path

The pupil

The lens

The retina

Chemical Responses to Light

The photochemical reaction

The Neuroanatomy of Vision

The retinal network

The Pathway to the Brain

Sampling Visual Information

Eye movements

The localizing channel

Vision without a visual cortex

Vision without a superior colliculus

Suggested Readings

5. The Dimensions of Vision

The Perception of Brightness

Mach bands

Brightness contrast

Brightness and Depth


Equibrightness contours

Temporal Characteristics of Vision

Integration time

When flashing lights become continuous

Critical flicker


Mixing Colors

The color wheel

Paints and Lights


Color Sensitivity of Cones

Opponent-process color theory

Induced contrast

Suggested Readings

Color vision

6. The Auditory System

The Physics of Sound

The frequency of sound

The intensity of sound


The Mechanics of the Ear

The inner ear

Movements of the basilar membrane

The hair cells

Electrical Responses to Sound

Tuning curves

Temporal coding in neural responses

Coding of intensity information

Acoustic information processing

Suggested Readings

7. The Dimensions of Sound


Equiloudness contours

Listening to music


The measurement of loudness


The musical scale

The mel scale

Place theory: position on the basilar membrane

Periodicity pitch

Masking the missing fundamental

Pitch Discrimination Without a Basilar Membrane

Evidence against the periodicity pitch theory

The duplicity theory of pitch perception

The Critical Band

Auditory Space Perception


Binaural interactions

Importance of binaural listening


The precedence effect

Suggested Readings

8. Neural Basis of Memory

The Memory Systems

Sensory information storage system

Short-term memory

Long-term memory

Storing Information

Neural circuits of memory

The Chemistry of Memory

RNA changes and learning

Learning after alterations in the available RNA

Memory transfer

Disorders of Memory

Electroconvulsive shock


The cases of H.M. and N.A.

Mechanisms of memory

The Search for Long-Term Memory

One Brain or Two

Split brains in animals

Split brains in humans

Two brains: fixed or flexible


Suggested Readings

9. Transient Memories

Sensory Information Stora

The Tachistoscope

The capacity of SIS

Short-Term Memory

Errors in recall from short-term memory



Attributes of memory

From Short- to Long-Term Memory

The Phenomena of Attention

Selecting messages

Processing the rejected message

Memory without attention

Theories of Attention

The attenuator model

The active synthesizing-process model

Suggested Readings

10. The Structure of Memory

Answering Questions

When to retrieve information

Retrieving an image

Retrieval as problem solving

Retrieval and comprehension

The Importance of Understanding

A Model of Memory

Remembering concepts

Primary and secondary concepts

Remembering events

Suggested Readings

11. Memory Processes

Mechanisms for Input and Output

Processing an input

Making responses

Deducing a Person's Memory Structure

Searching Memory

Multistage search processes

Reorganizing Thoughts

Correcting errors

Evaluating an input

Viewing the Data Base

Understanding versus Remembering

Memory as Information Processing

Suggested Readings

12. Language

Meaning through actions

The importance of labels

The Structure of Language

Meaning structure and surface structure

English Grammar

On communicating the structure

On communicating the meaning

Learning a Language

Learning rules


Language as communication

The first steps in communication


Suggested Readings

13. Learning and Cognitive Development

Sensorimotor Schemata

A sensorimotor schema

The Phenomena of Learning

Contingencies between actions and outcomes

Detecting corrections

Contingencies between the environment and outcomes


Classical Conditioning

Cognitive Learning

Reinforcement as a signal

Learning and awareness

Learning by experimentation

The importance of expectations

Cognitive Development

Sensorimotor learning

The Development of Images

Preoperational thought

Concrete operations

Formal operations


Suggested Readings

Principles of learning

14. Problem Solving

The Anatomy of a Problem


The protocol from DONALD + GERALD

The problem behavior graph

Strategies of Problem Solving

Searching for solutions

Selecting operators

Limitations of the protocol analysis

Internal States Versus Protocol States

The Machinery of Thought

Rules versus facts


Short-term memory

Suggested Readings

15. Decision Making

Determining Values

The psychological value of money

The value of complex alternatives

Cognitive strain

What is being optimized

The Logic of Choice

Risky Decision Making

Utility in risky choices


Expected value

Subjective probability

Representativeness and availability

Subjective expected utility


Gathering Evidence


A test for cancer

The Cuban Missle Crisis

The Aftereffects of Decision Making


Of grasshoppers and things

Postdecisional rationalization


Suggested Readings

16. Decisions in a Social Context

Social Influence on Decision Making

Bystander Behavior

Bystander apathy

Compliance with authority

Interactive Decisions


The bargaining procedure

The process of negotiation

Strategic negotiations

The tactics of conflict

Games and Decisions

Suggested Readings

17. Motivation

Brain Mechanisms of Motivation

Electrical control of hunger and thirst

Disrupting the motivational control systems

Motivational Control Systems

A numerical test

Terminating eating

Nonbiological factors

Responding to Uncertainty

Responses to stress

Biochemical Responses to Stress

Responses to conflict

Responding to nothing

Neural mechanisms of arousal


Interpreting Emotional Arousal

Emotions: one or many

To be mad or euphoric

Motivation and Cognition

Suggested Readings

Appendix A. Measuring Psychological Variables

Sensory Experiences


Scale types

Scaling techniques

Magnitude estimation

The power law

"How much" versus "what kind"

Interpretation of the power function

Range of applicability

Cross-modality matching

How to scale

Suggested Readings

Appendix B. Operating Characteristics

The Decision Problem

The Dice Game

The criterion rule

Confidence ratings

The normal distribution


The fire-sprinkler problem


The dice problem revisited

Suggested Readings


Using Basic Reference Material

Annual reviews

Psychological abstracts

The science citation index

The journals

General Readings

Collected readings


Author Index

Subject Index


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1972
1st January 1972
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Authors

Peter H. Lindsay

Donald A. Norman

Ratings and Reviews