INFORMATION PROCESSING, ECOLOGICAL, AND SOCIOCULTURAL THEORY

What model of therapy do you feel is most consistent with information processing theory? 

The information processing theory considers the human mind to be a system that processes according to some rules and limitations just like in a computer. Information processing theory can use different models of human information processing including store model and processing model. Store model suggests that information goes into the system through the sensory register and is then encoded and stored as short term or long term memory. The processing model suggests that memory is based on the depth and intensity of the information that is being stored instead of the way it is stored (McLeod, 2008). 

Of the two models, the store model appears to be the most consistent with information processing theory because it supports the information processing theory assumptions more than the processing model does. In information processing theory, the information from the environment is first processed through various processing system such as attention and perception. The processing systems then alter the information in different ways. Another assumption is that information processing in human is similar to that found in computers. In the store model, information first goes through the sensory register and it is then encoded. The encoding is similar to the assumption that information from the environment is first processed through various systems; the information is altered, and then stored. Similarly, the store model suggests that once the information is encoded it is stored. 

In addition, the information processing theory compares information processing in the human mind with information processing in computers. In computers, information is coded, stored, used and produces an output. In humans, information is received, coded into neural activity, and then taken to the brain where it is stored and coded. Similarly, the store model suggests that information is received, coded and stored either in short term or long term memory. The computer also has a short term and long term memory (McLeod, 2008). Hence, the store model is consistent with the information processing theory which involves receiving information, processing it and storing it. Using the store model, one can effectively explain how information can be received, encoded, stored and transformed in the information processing theory. 

Based on Gibson’s theory, discuss the concept of “affordances” and how our clients’ affordances, limit or foster their ability to change (i.e., to address the issues that brought them into therapy). 

In Gibson’s theory, perception involves top-down processing whereby contextual information is used to recognize patterns. According to Gibson, there is always enough information in the environment to make sense of the world. What one sees is what one gets and so there is no need for interpreting information as the information bits we receive are enough to create meaning and enable interaction with the environment (Lemerise, & Arsenio, 2000). There are three important concepts in Gibson’s theory including optic flow patterns, invariant features and affordances. Affordances are the short cues in the environment that aid in perception and they include optical array, relative brightness, relative size, superimposition, texture gradient and height in the usual field.  People rely on cues in the environment in order to develop perception. This means that people rely on different factors in order to have a perception. The ‘affordances’ used by people are different depending on the environment, attitudes, what they can see, and what they can infer (McLeod, 2007). 

Various affordances determine the perception and reaction among of individuals. For instance, provocative anger cues in a situation of ambiguous provocation facilitate anger attributions and a person may end being angry. In order to change perceptions, the affordances have to be changed. While dealing with a client, affordances can either limit or foster their ability to change. The provocative anger cues can limit the ability of a person to stay away from being angry or hostile. The regulatory function of affective signals or affordances can work well with familiar partners or in a situation whereby an individual is likely to feel empathy. If the person sees empathy affordances instead, then perception will change (Lemerise, & Arsenio, 2000). 

Therapy focuses on these affordances in order to initiate change. This means that if the affordances are altered, then the client might change. However, if the client is not able to consider different affordances from what he or she uses, then it the ability to change is limited. The therapist should be able to convince the client to consider the most important affordances in order to address a situation. The client should be able to view the appropriate affordances in order for change to take place. If the client still considers the same affordances that are not useful or appropriate, then change is limited (McLeod, 2007). 

Based on Vygotsky’s work, discuss the following question: “How can a therapist use the concepts of zone of proximal development and scaffolding to help clients meet their goals?” 

In Vygotsky’s work, community plays a central role in creating meaning and learning is a necessary universal aspect of developing culturally organized psychological function. This means that social learning comes before cognitive development. Vygotsky considers various concepts including zone of proximal development and scaffolding (McLeod, 2007). Zone of proximal development refers to the area where most sensitive instructions should be given as this enables one to develop higher mental functions and skills on their own. Scaffolding refers to the structure that is built alongside a building when a new building is being constructed or when an old one is being repaired. Once the building or repairs are done, the scaffold is then removed. 

According to Vygotsky, in cognitive development, adults provide scaffolding to enable children learn information and develop more complex thinking abilities to assist them in their skills (Wertsch, & Tulviste, 1994). A therapist can therefore use the concepts of zone of proximal development and scaffolding to help clients meet their goals. The concept of proximal development can be used whereby the therapist can provide guidance or sensitive instruction on how a client may respond to a particular situation. The interaction between the therapist and the client can be used to initiate the development of particular skills and strategies in a client (McLeod, 2008). 

Scaffolding can also be used to help clients meet there goals by therapist acting as the scaffolds. However, therapy goals have to be first set and then the therapist can help the client achieve these goals by providing guidance, sensitive information and support. The zone of proximal development can be used to refer to the space between what the client can be able to do by himself and what he can do with some scaffolding or help from the therapist. The client should be able to do something on his own and the therapist should come in when the client is stuck or rakes the wrong direction. The therapists and client should also define the zone of proximal development so that the therapist is able to come in when the client gets to this point (McLeod, 2008). Once the client has been able to achieve the goals, the therapist can then allow the client to act or make decisions on his own (Wertsch, & Tulviste, 1994). 

 

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