Human brain is an amazing thing. It processes the information that is available in the environment and turns it into memory, perception and cognition. It basically turns the information into codes so that human brain can understand and then it can be stored and retrieved later. Basically, there are three stages of information processing
Stage 1: Input
The process in which human analyze and evaluate the data provided in environment. For example, we decide whether the provided data is worth remembering or not
Stage 2: Storage
Human brain stores information for later use. For that purpose, brain will transfer the information into codes and control data so that brain can understand the information.
Stage 3: Output
In this process, brain will decide what to do with the information and how people will response to the stimulus.
Memory is a process in which our brain will understand, store and retrieves information that we receive from environment. With the help of memory, we are able to remember things that we had done in the past, what we did today and plans that what we will do in future. Without memory, we cannot learn anything. Memory process vast amount of information and that information can take many different types for example; images, sounds or meaning.
Stages of Memory Creation
Brain has three types of memory processes
It is the first stage of memory. The purpose of this stage is to give brain some time to process the information. In this stage, our senses receive information from environment. This activity is short and last for a small period of time mainly for seconds. We usually receive information through vision, auditory and feeling. There are three types of sensory memory: Iconic memory, Echoic memory and Haptic memory.
Short-term memory has limited capacity. The brain stores information temporarily and we can retrieve this information when needed. Short-term
Memory only interprets the images instead of receiving information from full image. We have the most control on this type of memory and we can actively improve it.
Many of us think that long term memory is a working memory but the truth is that long-term memory stores the information in brain for long period of time but to use that information we have to retrieve it and that information will first go to short-term memory so that we can use it. We can save information in long-term memory for a week, months and years. It has so much capacity. Some memory that is stored in long-term memory can be retrieved easily but some are not easy to recall.
Types of Long-Term Memory
You have to actively trying to remember information for example, facts, data, episode etc. It can be further divided in two parts
You remember things automatically and you are not aware of it for example, driving a car, how to walk etc.
Let’s take an exemplary situation where a new system of drip irrigation is introduced to a group of students of university of gujrat and are interested to experiment new innovations and technologies. The new drip irrigation water system was imported from china and it contained some basic documentation like user manuals and a documentary mediocre. Students will physically interact and handle the drip irrigation equipment and will also watch the documentary clip before they attempt the actual installation in irrigation.
Having the above situation, let’s see how empiricists, rationalists, existentialists and structuralists will approach for this.
Empiricists believed that all knowledge that we get received from our experiences, especially sensory experience. They also believe that a person has a blank slate of mind when he was born. Whatever he learns, he learns through sensory experience. They also said that whatever they experience through senses, they will associate that knowledge to the previous knowledge that they get from same sensory experience. They called this method law of association and they think that humans have passive mind.
In the above cited example an empiricist will analyze the instrument through senses. He will see the documentary and try to understand the user manual and also the machine itself. They were experiencing this for the first time. But when they finish experiencing the workshop and they fully understand through their senses then, they will apply the water irrigation system to the real world for an experiment and that is the time when he fully understands the instrument. He will try to remember things that he experienced in workshop and try to ember hat what he saw there and analyze what he is doing here is the same. For example he opened the valves of water to see that the water will come out of pipes or not like in the workshop he experienced. So they will only rely on what they experienced and not try to find any logic.
Rationalists believed that humans have some innate ideas when they born. They also said that a person will learn from different experiences and try to find logic in them because they have an active mind. They also believed on the law of association but they do not rely on the thought that a person can learn only from sensory experiences. They transform the sensory information into some understandable principles.
In the above cited example, rationalists will think why we need this water irrigation system and try to find out the logical reasoning behind this invention. They will try to explore this water irrigation system is invented to save water and to ensure the more precise and efficient use of water resources. They will say that water resources are scarce and this irrigation system will be a nice effort to control the waste of water.
Existentialists tried to find the meaning of life and they give importance to freedom of choice that they can make any decision or believe anything according to their free will. The stresses upon the uniqueness of an individual and said that everybody is different from each other they also stresses on subjective experience and personal responsibility. They do not believe in logic.
In the above situation, according to existentialists, everybody will perceive the water irrigation system differently. They use their unique ways because everybody has their own unique personality. They do not have any common principle. They will not try to find any logic behind that water irrigation system that what benefits it has, how it is working etc. they just tried to understand what the instructor in the workshop was trying to tell and every person who was attending that workshop will understand that system differently and even there is possibility that some of them do not want to understand the function of that system. They find it boring and existentialist will respect their decision because they have freedom to take their life decision.
Structuralists studied the things into its structures or elements. They do not see thing as a whole. They do believe in association and structuralists said that the sensations we receive or the images we see varies in its quality, intensity, duration, clearness and extensity. They also believed that sensation that we receive associate itself with memories that are stored before in brain.
In the above example, structuralists will first see that the water irrigation system is an electrical device. It has water pump. It has a pipe. It is used for water irrigation. It is a mechanical device and may be some of the structures that they see will create a similarity between any structures that they have seen before. Whatever they are experiencing I this workshop they make structures of that experience and then they try to fix those structures into different categories.
So, in the above cited example, we tried to understand empiricism, rationalism, existentialism and structuralism school of thoughts by taking one single situation. The purpose was to explain the different ways of thinking and analyzing the important characteristics of these four school of thoughts.