Human Information Processing

Human Information Processing

An Introduction to Psychology

1st Edition - January 1, 1972

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  • Authors: Peter H. Lindsay, Donald A. Norman
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483218571

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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

  • Preface


    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

Product details

  • No. of pages: 766
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1972
  • Published: January 1, 1972
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483218571

About the Authors

Peter H. Lindsay

Donald A. Norman

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