Human And Computer Information Processing

In this paper we explore about how human and computer memories work? In particular, what is the structure of short term memories of human and computers? We have discussed how the Information process in human and computers and the correlation between them. According to the experts the data or information can be stored in three different ways which become memory. 1) Sensory stage. 2) Short-term memory and 3) Long-term memory. In human, Short-term memory gets its information from one of three types of sensory memories: iconic memory, which receives input from visual stimuli; echoic memory, which receives input from auditory stimuli; and haptic memory, which receives input from tactile stimuli. We have explained the Separate store for short term memory, Capacity, chunking, Biological basis and some factor affecting short term memory in the article. We included that how we can increase the short term memory by using short term memory Improvement techniques. We gave a detailed view of memory encoding, for example, the memory of the first person you ever fell in love with. When you met that person, your visual system likely registered physical features, such as the colour of their eyes and hair. Your auditory system may have picked up the sound of their laugh. You probably noticed the scent of their perfume or cologne. You may even have felt the touch of their hand. Each of these separate sensations travelled to the part of your brain called the hippocampus, which integrated these perceptions as they were occurring into one single experience, your experience of that specific person.

We have talked about computer memories. There are three different memories in computer. Furthermore we gave an idea about how computer short term memories work, like RAM, Static RAM and Cache etc. Computer short-term memory is called random-access memory, or RAM. This name refers to the ability to access any of the stored information equally quickly, as opposed to a hard drive which must spin or move the arm to stored information. Like human short-term memory, RAM is used for information as it is being processed by the CPU. When a computer has an active document or program, it is stored in RAM.

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Author Keywords: Human-computer Information processing; Memory Encoding, Neural Code, Biological basis, Phonological Recall, Serial Recall, Sensory register, RAM, SRAM, DRAM.


In brief you can say short term memory is at one time the things that you are processing in your mind. Short-term memory is also expressed as recent or working memory in human brain. The limited store is for things that you can think about at one time and up to typically around seven. When we talk about thinking, is very complex process, mainly related to already stored information or as an act contain much exchanging of items to and from long-term memory. In human, items in short-term memory do not reside in mind and need regular concentration and practice to keep them in place. They will typically remain for 20 to 30 seconds without attention, but this can be much less (have you had someone introduced to you, and then not remember their name in seconds flat?). There are two directions for the things to get into short-term memory 1) Recalled from long-term memory or 2) Direct from external senses.

Scientists from Berlin and Munich have discovered how to read out information from cellular short term memory (June 2008). [1]

Computer memory is like human brain as you can find it storing everything. It doesn’t matter if you want to save your history home work, pictures from your camera, books from library or anything else, it helps you to do whatever you like. It is amazing and surely is a great creation of science and technology. It is faster and more reliable. In a computer metaphor, short-term memory is the cache and ram on which the processor directly acts, as opposed to the longer-term store on the disk.

Theoretical framework

Information Processing: The change (processing) of information in any way detectable by an observer. When we deal with information, we do so in steps. The process of acquiring, retaining, and using information as an activity called information processing.

Human Information Processing: HIP deals with how people receive, store, integrate, retrieve, and use information. The sciences concerned with gathering and manipulating and storing and retrieving and classifying recorded information. The problem solving process can be considered a human information processing system.

Information is received and responses given via a number of input and output channels because humans are limited in their capacity to process information. There are three basic channels in human information processing.

Visual channel, auditory channel and movement.

In human information processing information is store in different kinds of memory:

Sensory memory, short term (Working) memory and long term memory.

Information is processed and implied:

Reasoning, problem solving, skill acquisition and error.

Human memory

Human memory consists of information patters being stored temporarily or permanently in the interconnection patterns and synaptic weightings among neurons in the brain. Although specific brain regions such as the hippocampus, amygdala, cerebellum, and basal ganglia have been implicated as being highly involved in specific aspects of memory, many researchers believe that memory may be a “field phenomenon” of the brain – not localized strongly in any one point, but in the entirety of the interconnective map that makes up the brain. This would be consistent with the observation that evolution prefers redundancy and animals with critical functions localized in any particular brain structure would be more subject to the degenerative threats of malnutrition or injury than those with distributed functions. [2]

Description of Memory

Memory depends on created data, It does not matter how detailed or short it is. It should be stored in brain. According to the experts the data or information can be stored in three different ways which become memory. 1) Sensory stage. 2) Short-term memory and 3) Long-term memory (for some memories).There is very limited capacity in our brain and there is no need to keep everything in our mind. There is a large amount of information we gather from our daily routine. There are many stages of human memory function which work as a filter of this information. It helps us to protect from the flood of information that we are confronted.

Perception is the beginning of the creation of the memory: During perception, in the brief sensory stage that generally lasts only a fraction of a second, the registration of information occurs. Sensory memory that allows a perception such as a sound, a visual pattern or after the stimulation is over a touch to stay behind for a concise moment.

The sensation is stored in short-term memory after the first step. Short-term memory has a quite limited capacity. It can hold about 7 items for no more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time. By using some memory strategies you may be able to increase this ability to some extent. For example, a 10 digit number such as 2086875887 could be more than enough for your short-term memory to hold. But if you use some strategy to remember this number for example divided into different parts by using some characters “-“, as in a telephone number, 208-687-5887. For long enough It begin_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting may actually stay in your short-term memory. You can dial the telephone number without looking into your address book or diary.

In the third step only important information transferred from short-term memory into long-term memory, but is a gradual process. The information which is finally end up in long-term memory, or to be retained, depends on how many time information has been repeated or used. It has been observed that reading or studying helps students to perform well in their exams. On the other hand short term memory and sensory memory are very limited and destroyed rapidly. Long term memory can be stored for unlimited time and there no limit of the size or amount of information.

Short-term memory: A system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension. Short-term memory is involved in the selection, initiation, and termination of information-processing functions such as encoding, storing, and retrieving data. [3]

Short-term memory (sometimes referred to as “primary memory” or “active memory”) refers to the capacity for holding a small amount of information in mind in an active, readily available state for a short period of time. The duration of short-term memory (when rehearsal or active maintenance is prevented) is believed to be in the order of seconds. Estimates of short-term memory capacity limits vary from about 4 to about 9 items, depending upon the experimental design used to estimate capacity. A commonly-cited capacity is 7±2 elements. In contrast, long-term memory indefinitely stores a seemingly unlimited amount of information. [4]

Input of Information

We have discussed above the three types of memory and Short-term memory, which is one types of memory. It contains a limited amount of information just for a few seconds. It is the step before long-term memory.

According to the Georgia Tech College of Computing [5], short-term memory gets its information from one of three types of sensory memories: iconic memory, which receives input from visual stimuli; echoic memory, which receives input from auditory stimuli; and haptic memory, which receives input from tactile stimuli.[6]

The person must be concentrating attention on the particular stimuli when the data to transfer from sensory memory to short- term memory.

This selective attention was exhibited in Colin Cherry’s cocktail party problem [7]: when at a cocktail party, people filter out other conversations to focus on the conversation that interests them, according to Barry Arons of MIT.

Separate store for short term memory

A model has developed in the 1960s which is known as “Classical Model”. According to that after a short period of time all memories pass from a short-term to a long-term store. This model is referred to as the “modal model” and has been most famously detailed by Shiffrin[8]. It is still contentious topic among researchers that there two separate stores exist for short and long term memories.

All experts are not agreed that there are separate systems for short-term and long-term memory. Few theorists offer that memory is unitary over all time scales, from milliseconds to years [9]. After the unitary memory hypothesis it is recommended that it is truth that it has been difficult to draw a clear boundary between short-term and long-term memory.

If there were really two different memory stores operating in this time frame, one could expect a discontinuity in this curve. Other research has shown that the detailed pattern of recall errors looks remarkably similar for recall of a list immediately after learning (presumably from short-term memory) and recall after 24 hours (necessarily from long-term memory) [10].


It is detained for short period of time, once the information reaches in the short-term memory. George Miller proposed in his 1956 article, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two,[11]” that short-term memory can hold seven items at a time, plus or minus two; an example is a phone number without the area code [11].


It is possible that people can improve short-term memory and can increase capacity by using a memory technique called chunking. Chunking is the technique that is, in a significant way grouping of information together. Ericsson and colleagues, in their article “Acquisition of a Memory Skill,” documented an All-American runner who increased his short-term memory capacity to 79 items by grouping the numbers together as running times; when he was given words instead of digits, he no longer had the increased memory capacity. The Georgia Tech experts add that the time frame for short-term memory is 200 ms; after that time, short-term memory no longer holds the information.

Biological basis

It is proposed that short term memory is prolonged firing of neurons which depletes the Readily Releasable Pool (RRP) of neurotransmitter vesicles at presynaptic terminals[12]. The pattern of depleted presynaptic terminals represents the long term memory trace and the depletion itself is the short term memory. After the firing has slowed down, endocytosis causes short term memory to decay. If the endocytosis is allowed to finish (the memory is not activated again), the pattern of exhausted postsynaptic terminals becomes invisible and the short term memory disappears. The long term memory remains as the metastable pattern of the neuronal excitations.

Factors Affecting Short Term Memory

To find out the accurate capacity of short term memory is extremely difficult due to the fact that it will vary depending on the nature of the material to be recalled. To be stored in the short term memory store recently, there is no method of defining the essential unit of information. According to Atkinson and Shiffrin, It is also feasible that short term memory store is not the store. The job of defining the task of short term memory store becomes even more difficult in this case.

Effects of instrumental music

In fact, there are several important effects of instrumental music on short-term memory. Most of the readers are listening music, if you walk into a library and observe. The main reason is that because they think that the silence of the library actually makes it harder to concentrate and study. The parents and educators often consider that noise including instrumental music, hold back memory processes.

Phonological Recall

Even if the words are not present in the real music, the instrumental music that is associated with words can damage short-term memory. The instrumental music can cause problems with short-term memory and also verbal tasks if the instrumental music also is associated with words.

Serial Recall

Serial recall is short-term (or long-term) memory recall that requires the reproduction of an exact sequence. For example, learning and remembering the sequences 1, 2 and 3 or a, b and c uses serial recall. A 1989 study by Pierre Salame and Alan Baddeley, published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that instrumental music makes it more difficult to remember visually given sequences (e.g., to use serial recall). The study found that vocal music was more disruptive than instrumental music for short-term memory.

Other Impacts and Considerations

A 1991 study by Tucker and Bushman published in Perceptual and Motor Skills found that rock and roll music worsened the performance of math and verbal tasks, although reading comprehension was not impacted. However, it should be noted that math skills do require some short-term memory and sequencing, and that digits have verbal associations. Thus, it may have been the verbal component of the rock and roll music that worsened the math skills. Furthermore, Sarah Roy of Missouri Western State University pointed out that previous research on the topic of instrumental music and short-term memory has not explored the concept that some genres of music actually may provide an environment that aids in memory recall. Roy did concede that any stimulating music, regardless of its genre, may be distracting.

Many researchers, such as Rauscher, have supported the idea of the “Mozart effect,” in which instrumental music enhances the performances of tasks (particularly tasks related to spatial reasoning). An explanation for this “effect” is that the change in mood that occurs when listening to instrumental music by Mozart results in better brain function, including memory recall. This means that any music that is pleasurable, not just instrumental music, could have a positive impact on the performance of tasks and memory. More research is needed in order to prove how memory is affected by instrumental music, as study results are conflicting and there is not a firm consensus among professionals about how memory and music interact.

Improvement Techniques

You can expand your short term memory database with a few techniques. Use mnemonic techniques such as acronyms, which abbreviate long pieces of information. Teachers often use the F.A.N.B.O.Y.S acronym for teaching a lesson on coordinating conjunctions, which reads as for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

Fun Fact about short term memory

The ancient Greeks relied on short term memory as an important cognitive attribute. The Greeks recited speeches and narrated myth and tradition through epic poems. The Greeks, for example, committed the story of the Iliad to memory, and retold it to subsequent generations.

Famous Ties

Drew Barrymore plays the part of an amnesiac who experienced trauma to the head. The impact effected her short term memory functioning. Clinical neuropsychologist, Sallie Baxendale says not to rely on a film’s representation of amnesia.

How short term memory is collected and stored

If attention is paid to the sensory memories that enter perception, sensory memory moves into the short-term memory system. For a time period of a few seconds to a minute short-term memory records a limited number of items. The common idea however, that short-term memory is simply a holding area for experiences to be transferred to long-term memory has been replaced by theories that “short-term memory” describes the duration of a memory while in this portion of the brain, but the term “working memory” best describes the attentional control that is placed on the experience when it enters this phase.

Working memory allows cognitive processes to be performed on data that is briefly stored in short-term memory, such as applying instructions to numbers to do math problems, repeating sequences, translating languages or even more complex procedures involved in activities like driving a car.[13][14]

The neural code for short term memory

Neurons produce a quick chain of electrical impulses forming a spatial and temporal pattern, when the brain processes information. Within a few milliseconds, this neuronal information transmission takes place but nevertheless represents information that has been gathered and experienced over a longer period of time. Christian Leibold, Richard Kempter, Dietmar Schmitz (Bernstein Centers Munich and Berlin) and their colleagues have now shown which cellular mechanisms can form the basis of this compression of event series, using electrophysiological experiments and theoretical modeling.

Electrophysiological experiments and theoretical modelling

Top: While the rat strives through its territory, the timing of the place cells misaligns cumulatively with respect to the theta oscillations. Thereby the heading direction of the rat is coded within each oscillation cycle. Bottom: When the rat rests, memories from the last few seconds that are saved in the synapses are read out.

The cellular mechanism that is assumed to underlie short term memory is the so-called ‘synaptic facilitation?. Repeated transmission of a signal from one neuron to another increases the efficiency of the synapse linking the two cells. Even if this strengthening of the synapse is not permanent, it persists for several seconds – the synapse “memorizes” the event. ‘Memories that are saved in the synapse in this way must also be read out by the rest of the brain,’ explains Leibold. Leibold and his colleagues discuss this issue using the example of spatial navigation in rats.

A rat that is familiar with its territory has established so-called “place cells” that are active when the rat visits a particular area. If, for example, place cells of two areas A and B are active at the same time, the rat is located at the intersection of both areas. As long as the rat is moving, the place cells in the hippocampus produce a joint oscillation. They preferentially emit signals in the so-called “theta rhythm”- comparable to an audience applauding rhythmically after a concert. This rhythm serves a reference to measure the exact moment of neuronal discharges. The longer the rat remains in one location, the more the rhythm of the respective place cells differs from the theta rhythm. Thus, the rat “knows” at any moment not only where it is located, but also for how long it has already been in this area.

The place cells of the most recently visited places are activated in reverse sequence. This phase shift can be explained by ‘synaptic facilitation’ as the scientists from Berlin and Munich could prove. When the rat passes an area, the respective cell in the hippocampus repeatedly receives signals from an upstream brain region. The transmission efficiency of the synapse increases with each signal and the strength of the signals increases. Due to the augmented signal strength, the hippocampus cell fires its neural impulses more rapidly than before and thereby gets out of rhythm. If the rat rests after its walk or feeds, it recapitulates – unconsciously – the passed trail once again. During these rest periods, the places visited before are replayed in reverse sequence. Possibly, also this “reverse replay” is based on synaptic facilitation. Even several seconds after the rat has passed the trail from A via B to C, the synapses still contain traces of this “memory” – the synapses of the place cell C are strongest, while the ones of place cell A have nearly decayed to the normal level. When the rat rests, the place cells are stimulated and reveal this “memory”. They forward signals with corresponding differences in signal strength. Once again, the signal strength has an impact on the exact moment of the next signal.

The conversion of signal strength into a temporal code is supported by neural oscillations. However, in resting periods, no theta rhythm exists, but fast field potential changes, so-called aˆzsharp wave ripples”. For a long time, sharp wave ripples have been assumed to play an important role in the process of memory consolidation. How events can be recalled from short term memory during these sharp waves is now shown by the scientists’ work. [15]

Short Term Memory Loss Disorder

Short term memory loss disorders affect the brainImage by, courtesy of Andrew Mason

or anterograde amnesia is a condition in which the brain is no longer able to convert short-term memories into long-term memories. The condition affects episodic memory (personal experiences) more than procedural memory (muscle memory).


Anterograde amnesia is brought on by damage to the brain. This can result from head trauma, strokes, infections, and seizures.


The Mayo Clinic reports that diagnosis for this type of short term memory disorder typically includes taking a medical history, physical exam, cognitive testing, and imaging scans of the brain (CT Scan, MRI). These tests are performed to help rule out other causes.


The principle symptom is the inability to generate new, long-term memories from events that occur after the damage to the brain. Long term memories formed prior to the damage are typically unaffected.

Memory Duration

The impact of anterograde amnesia on the duration of short-term memory retention varies from case to case. The total time of retention may be a matter of a few minutes or it could last for a number of hours.


There are relatively few treatment options available for anterograde amnesia. The Mayo Clinic reports that technological aids such as PDAs and occupational therapy can be helpful.

Long Term

Amnesia conditions can spontaneously begin to resolve themselves, but anterograde amnesia can be a permanent condition.

Memory Encoding

Encoding is the first step in creating a memory. It’s a biological phenomenon, rooted in the senses, that begins with perception. Experts believe that the hippocampus, along with another part of the brain called the frontal cortex, is responsible for analyzing these various sensory inputs and deciding if they’re worth remembering. If they are, they may become part of your long-term memory. As indicated earlier, these various bits of information are then stored in different parts of the brain. How these bits and pieces are later identified and retrieved to form a cohesive memory, however, is not yet known.

The typical brain has about 100 trillion synapses, which are the points

where nerve cells in the human brain connect with other cells.

Although a memory begins with perception, it is encoded and stored using the language of electricity and chemicals. Here’s how it works: Nerve cells connect with other cells at a point called a synapse. All the action in your brain occurs at these synapses, where electrical pulses carrying messages leap across gaps between cells.

The electrical firing of a pulse across the gap triggers the release of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters diffuse across the spaces between cells, attaching themselves to neighbouring cells. Each brain cell can form thousands of links like this, giving a typical brain about 100 trillion synapses. The parts of the brain cells that receive these electric impulses are called dendrites, feathery tips of brain cells that reach out to neighbouring brain cells.

The connections between brain cells aren’t set in concrete — they change all the time. Brain cells work together in a network, organizing themselves into groups that specialize in different kinds of information processing. As one brain cell sends signals to another, the synapse between the two gets stronger. The more signals sent between them, the stronger the connection grows. Thus, with each new experience, your brain slightly rewires its physical structure. In fact, how you use your brain helps determine how your brain is organized. It is this flexibility, which scientists call plasticity that can help your brain rewire itself if it is ever damaged.

As you learn and experience the world and changes occur at the synapses and dendrites, more connections in your brain are created. The brain organizes and reorganizes itself in response to your experiences, forming memories triggered by the effects of outside input prompted by experience, education, or training.

These changes are reinforced with use, so that as you learn and practice new information, intricate circuits of knowledge and memory are built in the brain. If you play a piece of music over and over, for example, the repeated firing of certain cells in a certain order in your brain makes it easier to repeat this firing later on. The result: You get better at playing the music. You can play it faster, with fewer mistakes. Practice it long enough and you will play it perfectly. Yet if you stop practicing for several weeks and then try to play the piece, you may notice that the result is no longer perfect. Your brain has already begun to forget what you once knew so well.

To properly encode a memory, you must first be paying attention. Since you cannot pay attention to everything all the time, most of what you encounter every day is simply filtered out, and only a few stimuli pass into your conscious awareness. If you remembered every single thing that you noticed, your memory would be full before you even left the house in the morning. What scientists aren’t sure about is whether stimuli are screened out during the sensory input stage or only after the brain processes its significance. What we do know is that how you pay attention to information may be the most important factor in how much of it you actually remember.

Computer Information Processing:

The computer uses its brain CPU (Central Processing Unit) to process information. The CPU is the chip that executes all of the computer’s programs. It sits on the motherboard and communicates with all of the other hardware components inside the computer. Nothing can operate without going through the processor first.

In every computer program sits a set of instructions. The CPU uses the instructions as a guide to run the programs. To determine what to do with the instructions, the CPU goes through four steps to make sure the program runs without errors. The four steps are fetch, decode, execute and writeback.

A computer system comprises various elements each of affects the user of the system. Input devices of interactive use, allowing text entry, drawing and selection from the screen:

Text entry: traditional keyboard, phone text entry, speech and handwriting

Pointing: principally the mouse, but also touchpad, stylus and others

3D interaction devices.

Output display devices for interactive use:

Different types of screen mostly using some form of bitmap display

Large displays and situated displays for share and public use.

Digital paper may be usable in the near future.

Computer Memory:

Sensory Register or Sensory Memory (STSS). Analogous to input devices such as a keyboard or more sophisticated devices like a voice recognition system. Computers have to get their initial input from somewhere outside the computer. This information may be registered at the keyboard, through a modem, or in some other manner. It stays in this temporary register area for only a few nanoseconds before it is moved into the computer’s random access memory.

Working Memory or Short Term Memory (STM). Analogous to the CPU and its random-access memory (RAM). The random access memory is primary storage and we have dynamic (RAM) changes through processing and static (RAM) remain constant (power on). The random access memory (RAM) corresponds to the human working memory. This is the electronic area where the computer combines, integrates, and generates output from data that are brought in through input devices or are retrieved from read only memory (ROM) or from a storage area.

Long Term Memory (LTM). Analogous to a storage device like a hard disk secondary storage device. Data can be stored on disk or programmed into ROM (Read Only Memory) for relatively permanent storage. We have different types of ROM like, PROM (Program can be changed once), EPROM (Erasable through ultraviolet light) and EEPROM (Electrically erasable).We also have tape and optical storage devices. This information is available to interact with the information in RAM whenever the program requires it. We have direct access storage devices like, Hard Disk(Steel platter for large computer systems), RAID(Redundant array of inexpensive disks) and Floppy Disk(Removable disk for PC)

RAM (Random Access Memory): A Computer’s Short Term Memory

Random access memory contains a matrix made up ol cells arranged in rows and columns and the cells are addressed row by row. Each cell ol a row is connected to first and second bit lines and at least the first bit line is subdivided into a plurality ol sections connected to respective inputs ol an output logic gate. The memory includes read/write control circuits which apply the following logic functions to each of the first and second bit lines directly or indirectly and selectively, according to whether a required operation is a write o

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