Attention, Learning, and Memory
In the last chapter, it became clear that psychological processes cannot neatly be separated from each other. Sensory inputs are controlled by motor movements, and motor actions have sensory components. The same is true for attention, learning, and memory.
The information to which children are exposed may or may not become part of the permanent store of information they use in dealing with everyday life. Whether they have this information available to them depends on several things like the efficiency of the focus of their attention; how well they remember the information they actually attend to; and their ability to retrieve the information that is stored. As becomes evident in the next two chapters, simply having the memories available does not guarantee the abstract and complex thinking that is necessary for adaptation. Higher order problem solving requires complex intellectual strategies, and the use of these, in turn, depends on motivational variables.
From the moment that information is first received, cognitive processes are engaged in a complex and dynamic set of reactions. What one attends to is determined by what one already knows. What one remembers is dependent on one's interests. Problem-solving strategies depend on attention. Thus, the separation of psychological processes is to a certain extent a fiction that serves mainly to make their description convenient.
In addition to the complexity of cognitive processes, there is a central problem in this field because there is not always agreement on definitions. Attention problems, for instance, may for some people, be synonymous with