The information processing model of memory in the human brain was originally developed by comparing the human brain to that of a computer; some cognitive scientists believe that the human brain is nothing more than a very complex computer, a stimulus-response machine. There are many similarities between the computer and the human brain, it is true, though with a better understanding of this thought process, it will be possible to see that they are similarities not actualities, and it must be said that humans are more than just the sum of their nervous systems.
Cognitive psychology works to compare the human brain to that of a computer, stating that humans are simply information processors (McLeod, 2008). Both computers and the human brain work to combine the information that is presented to them with information that is stored within their banks in order to provide solutions to many problems, and most computers contain a central processor with limited capacity, typically compared to the limitations of the attention span of humans (McLeod, 2008). The differences are that the brain has an extensive ability for parallel processing while computers rely on serial processing, and humans are influenced by emotions and motivations, whereas computers are not (McLeod, 2008).
Like a computer, the human brain receives input, processes and stores data, and outputs information, but the brain is far more complex and influenced by factors that a computer will never be able to understand or experience (Whitworth, 2008). It is for these reasons that I believe that while the brain is comparable to a computer, the brain is far more complex, and due to the other influencing factors, far more than simply a nervous system equivalent of a computer.
- McLeod, S. (2008). Information processing. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org
- Whitworth, B. (2008). Some implications of comparing brain and computer processing. Retrieved from http://brianwhitworth.com/