Human Information Processing

Human Information Processing

An Introduction to Psychology

2nd Edition - January 1, 1977

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  • Authors: Peter H. Lindsay, Donald A. Norman
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483258232

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Human Information Processing: An Introduction to Psychology, Second Edition, was written to reflect recent developments, as well as anticipate new directions, in this flourishing field. The ideas of human information processing are relevant to all human activities, most especially those of human interactions. The book discusses all the traditional areas and then goes beyond: consciousness, states of awareness, multiple levels of processing (and of awareness), interpersonal communication, emotion, and stress. The book begins with an introduction to some of the more interesting phenomena of perception and poses some of the puzzles faced by those who would attempt to unravel the structures. Separate chapters cover the systems of most interest for human communication: the visual system and the auditory system; the structure of the nervous system; and the systems of memory: sensory information storage, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Subsequent chapters deal with the different aspects of memory, including show how memory is used in thought, in language, and in decision making. Also examined are the neurological basis of memory and the representation of knowledge within memory.

Table of Contents

  • Preface


    1. Human Perception


    Interpreting Sensory Messages

    Matching Templates

    Data-Driven and Conceptually Driven Processing

    Some Perceptual Phenomena

    Organizing Degraded Images

    Competing Organizations

    Organization without Meaning

    Making the Data Fit the Conceptualization

    The Importance of Rules

    Perception of Space

    The Importance of Context

    Feature Analysis

    Stopping the Image


    The Explanation of Aftereffects

    Orientation-Specific Color Adaptation

    Perception without Features

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings



    2. 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

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    3. The Dimensions of Vision


    Sensory Experiences

    The Perception of Brightness

    Brightness Contrast

    Mach Bands

    Spatial Frequency Analysis

    The Measurement of Visual Sensitivity

    Equibrightness Contours

    Temporal Characteristics of Vision

    Integration Time

    When Flashing Lights Become Continuous

    Critical Flicker


    The Color Circle

    Making Paints Mix as Lights

    Color Sensitivity of Cones

    Induced Contrast

    Opponent Process Color Theory

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    Color Vision

    Spatial Frequency Analysis

    4. The Auditory System


    The Ear

    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

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    5. The Dimensions of Sound


    Sensory Experiences


    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

    Evidence against the Periodicity Pitch Theory

    The Duplicity Theory of Pitch Perception

    The Critical Band

    Auditory Space Perception


    Importance Of Binaural Listening

    The Precedence Effect


    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    6. Neural Information Processing


    Part I: Neural Processes

    The Eye of a Frog

    Physiological Procedures

    Basic Neural Circuits

    Lateral Inhibition

    Responding to Movement

    Part II: Brain Processes

    From the Eye to the Brain

    Extracting Features

    Acoustic Information Processing

    What Next?


    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    7. Pattern Recognition and Attention


    Recognizing Patterns


    How to Build Pandemoniums

    Features for Recognizing Speech

    The Segmentation Problem

    Classifying Speech Sounds

    Feature Analysis is Not Sufficient

    A Matter of Context

    The Importance of Redundancy

    Data-Driven and Conceptually Driven Processing

    Specialist Demons

    The Blackboard and the Supervisor

    The Analysis of a Sentence

    On the Power and Weakness of the Specialist System

    The Phenomena of Attention

    Selecting Messages

    Processing the Rejected Message

    Specialist Demons and the Supervisor


    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    8. The Memory Systems


    The Storage Systems

    Sensory Information Storage System

    Short-Term Memory

    Long-Term Memory

    Sensory Information Storage

    The Capacity of SIS

    Short-Term Memory

    Errors in Recall From Short-Term Memory



    Attributes of Memory

    Selective Interference: A Useful Experimental Tool

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    9. Using Memory


    From Short-Term Memory to Long-Term Memory

    Learning Lists

    Memory and Attention

    Memory without Attention

    Integrative Processes

    The Need for Organization

    Depth of Processing

    Strategies for Remembering


    The Study of Long-Term Memory

    Answering Questions

    Retrieving an Image

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    10. The Representation of Knowledge


    Representing Information in Memory

    The Structure of Concepts

    Semantic Definitions

    Semantic Networks

    Sensory Images and Motor Control Images

    Primary and Secondary Concepts

    Remembering Events

    Episodic and Semantic Memory

    Using the Data Base


    Mental Images

    An Experiment on Images

    A Final Comment

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    11. The Neural Basis of Memory


    Storing Information

    Neural Circuits of Memory

    Disorders of Memory

    Electroconvulsive Shock


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

    Other Studies of Amnesia

    Localization of Brain Function

    Specialization of the Two Hemispheres of the Brain

    Split Brains in Animals

    Hemispheric Specialization in Humans

    Two Brains: Fixed or Flexible

    Specialized Hemispheres—Specialized Thought


    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings


    Memory Mechanisms

    Memory Deficits

    Hemispheric Specialization

    12. Language


    Language and Communication

    Conversational Postulates

    Communicating Knowledge Structures

    The Rules of Language

    English Grammar

    The Problem of Reference

    The Power of Words

    Words and Morphemes

    Lexical Decomposition

    Psychological Mechanisms of Language Understanding

    Understanding Sentences

    A System for Understanding Language


    Understanding a Particular Sentence

    Garden Path Sentences


    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    13. Learning and Cognitive Development


    Cognitive Learning

    Laws of Learning

    Learned Helplessness

    Reinforcement as a Signal

    Learning and Awareness

    Cognitive Development

    Learning by Experimentation

    The Importance of Expectations

    Sensorimotor Learning

    Preoperational Thought

    Concrete Operations

    Formal Operations


    Learning a Language

    Learning the Vocabulary

    The Problem Faced by the Child

    Learning Words

    Overgeneralization and Overdiscrimination

    Learning to Speak


    Language as Communication

    Performance Limits

    Learning as Additions to Knowledge

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    General Issues in Learning


    First Language Learning

    Learning Complex Topics

    14. Problem Solving and Decision Making


    The Anatomy of the Problem


    The Procotol From Donald + Gerald

    The Problem Behavior Graph

    Strategies of Problem Solving

    Searching for Solutions

    Selecting Operators

    Limitations of Protocol Analysis

    How Good is Human Problem Solving?

    Limits Imposed by Short-term Memory

    Overcoming the Limits

    Decision Making

    Determining Values

    The Psychological Value of Money

    The Value of Complex Alternatives

    What is Being Optimized?

    Risky Decision Making

    Utility in Risky Choices


    Expected Value

    Subjective Probability

    Representativeness and Availability


    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    Problem Solving

    Decision Making

    15. The Mechanisms of Thought



    Conscious and Subconscious Modes of Thought

    Subconscious Problem Solving

    Some Principles of Processing

    The Processor


    The Trade-off Between Memory and Processing


    Time Sharing and Multiple Processors

    Human Thought Mechanisms

    Dual Processing Units in the Human


    The Meddlesome Nature of S

    The Virtues of S

    States of Awareness

    The Analysis of Human Thought

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    16. Social Interactions


    Prototypes and Schemas

    Social Stereotypes

    Being Sane in Insane Places

    Attribution Theory

    Attributing the Cause of Another's Behavior

    Attributing the Causes of Our Own Behavior

    Forming Impressions

    Information Integration

    Order Effects

    Patterns of Social Interaction

    Stereotyped Patterns of Interaction

    I'm Information Processing, You're Information Processing


    The Processes of Social Influence

    Bystander Behavior

    Bystander Apathy



    Interactive Decisions


    The Bargaining Procedure

    The Process of Negotiation


    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    17. Stress and Emotion



    How to Produce Stress

    Cognitive Causes of Stress

    Performance Under Stress

    Interpreting Emotional Arousal

    Emotions: One or Many?

    Interpreting Emotions Through Context

    A Model of Emotional Arousal

    Review of Terms and Concepts

    Suggested Readings

    Appendix A. Measuring Psychological Variables


    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 Game Revisited

    Suggested Readings


    Using Basic Reference Material

    Annual Reviews

    Psychological Abstracts

    The Science Citation Index

    The Journals

    General Readings


    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 802
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1977
  • Published: January 1, 1977
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483258232

About the Authors

Peter H. Lindsay

Donald A. Norman

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