The following is a summary of the Information Processing Model

The following is a summary of the Information Processing Model presented by David Sousa in
How the Brain Learns and Sarah Armstrong in Teaching Smarter with the Brain in Focus.
The brain receives tens of thousands of bits of information from the environment every second. This is in
addition to all the internal signals it receives from the body.
The Sensory Register filters incoming information to determine (in a matter of seconds) how important it
is. Only 1% of the data survive for further processing.
This data goes to Immediate Memory, where it can be held for up to 30 seconds while either a conscious or
subconscious decision is made about its importance. Data affecting survival are given priority, followed by
data generating emotions (these are reflexive reactions), and data for new learning comes last.
Information goes next to Working Memory, where it will survive only about 18 seconds unless the brain can
find a connection between it and something already known. Here the brain can build upon, take apart or
rework ideas for eventual storage elsewhere. 3 main questions determine whether or not the information
will be stored long-term:
1. Does this make sense?
2. Does it have meaning?
3. Did it receive adequate rehearsal?
Information in Working Memory captures our attention and demands our focus. (Consider the effect of
Perpetual Partial Attention!) Preadolescents can process an item in Working Memory for only 5-10 minutes
before mental fatigue or boredom sets in and focus drifts. To continue focus, there must be a change in the
way the student is dealing with the item.
Encoding information for long-term storage takes time, and usually happens during deep sleep.