Information psychology

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The Information Psychology deals with the processing principle awareness actionable information. Taking into account neuropsychological findings, the flow of information in the declarative (i.e., explicit, conscious) memory system can be understood as the core area of ​​information psychology .

Concept history

The term information psychology probably comes from the physicist Helmar Gunter Frank (1962), who suggested it for the application of questions, methods, measures (especially the measure of information entropy ) and models of cybernetics in the field of psychology . More generally, "information psychology" uses the findings and methods from the transmission of messages through technical systems, which are already documented for 1924/28 ( Harry Nyquist , Karl Küpfmüller ). In addition, the new measuring possibilities according to Claude E. Shannon (1948) were indispensable , whereby information was understood as a quantitative measure of characters that are exchanged between a sender and receiver.

Since 1986 efforts at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg to grasp intelligence with information-theoretical models and measures have been referred to as the Erlangen School of Information Psychology. This name goes back to several publications by Hans Jürgen Eysenck .

Psychological content

The basic contents of information psychology come from the following sub-areas of general and differential psychology:

  • Perceptual psychology: It includes sensory perception, neural interconnection of the visual pathway, attention and selectivity, color perception, depth perception, perceptual organization, ascending and descending processes.
  • Thinking Psychology: It deals with comparing, judging and deciding.
  • Learning psychology: Here the aspects of acquiring and simplifying knowledge as well as knowledge organization are of particular interest.
  • While findings about the locations and directions of information flows tend to claim general validity, intra- and inter-individual differences come into the focus of attention in measurements of the converted and stored amounts of information.
  • Findings from motivational and emotional psychology rather form the framework.

Benefits through simplifications

In some areas, such as perceptual, learning and differential psychology, simple facts and relationships can be uncovered with the help of information psychology. These include a.

  • approximately linear relationships between the information content of stimuli on the one hand and the perception times or reaction times on the other;
  • for young adults: short storage capacity = 80 bit +/- 28 bit; Information processing speed = 15 +/- 3 bit / s; Memory span = 5.4 +/- 0.8 s (s congruent with the number of independent items);
  • Information absorption speed of the memory <0.7 bit / s;
  • the dependence of the level of fluid intelligence on the short storage capacity or its two components, the information processing speed and the duration of the present (memory span, memory span );
  • the measurement of mental performance in the second-bit system and thus on the rational scale level with equidistant measurement unit and absolute zero point: therefore the comparison is justified, for example, that Ms. A has twice as much short storage capacity as Mr. B; that their intelligence or their intelligence quotient is twice as high, however, is an empirically meaningless statement;
  • the functional independence of information processing speed and present duration;
  • the numerical agreement of human genetically expected intellectual performance of the three genotypes of the general factor of intelligence and short storage capacity: ratio 2 ( gifted ): 1.5: 1 (most common performance level).

The short storage capacity is of great practical importance

In the information psychological "model of human information processing" according to Helmar Gunter Frank, the short storage capacity plays a central role in conscious information management. As an important condition for success in training, at work and quality of life in a performance society, especially a knowledge society, this capacity has considerable practical relevance.

Of course, memory in the narrower sense - in the case of conscious information processing, above all the declarative memory system according to Tulving is meant - is essential for information processing services. However, its interindividual variance has no significant significance for differences in intelligence, because every healthy adult “has a sufficient amount of memory”. Therefore, the crystallized intelligence or general knowledge depends above all on the individual capacity of the short memory, which reduces subjective information or organizes knowledge before it is stored in the memory.

The short-term storage capacity decreases in most people from around the age of 25. However, this only affects the mean values, because the majority of adults decline. The approx. 20 percent of adults with a relatively large short memory (working memory) show no measurable reductions until a few years before natural death. Avoidance of improper mental demands, frequent intake of carbohydrates and avoidance of fluid losses (thirst usually indicates it) as well as compensation of sensory impairments that increase with age, especially through visual and hearing aids, largely or completely prevent the age-related decline in short storage capacity or the fluid intelligence level .