Information Processing

Information Processing

Performing well in school or on the job requires the ability to constantly grasp, remember, and use new information. Attention and executive-function difficulties can make that process error-prone and inefficient. But, as our understanding of precisely how the mind processes information has grown, so have ideas about how to improve its performance. This, in turn, has led to an explosion of so-called “brain training” tools available in the marketplace. The effectiveness of these tools has been mixed, but I have investigated this field and can direct clients to the interventions with a proven track record of benefit in the major information-processing areas:

Information Processing SkillDefinitionTreatment
Working MemoryThe ability to hold new information in mind for up to 30 seconds so that it can be manipulated and reasoned about. I direct clients to online digital training tools that can permanently improve working memory.
Processing SpeedThe ability to automatically and fluently perform relatively well-practiced cognitive tasks, such as reading, speaking, and doing basic arithmetic. Global processing speed appears difficult to improve—but specific processing areas are not. For instance, reading speed often can be doubled after practicing specific eye-tracking routines and internal-visualization strategies.
Visual ProcessingThe ability to detect and interpret visual information. Visual processing has an enormous impact on basic reading, spelling, arithmetic and handwriting. It is also an essential component in long-term memory and social skill. There are strategies for enhancing visual processing that I have borrowed from the work of behavioral optometrists.
Auditory ProcessingThe ability to understand spoken language. On a basic level, auditory processing helps us grasp instructions and converse. At the highest level, it enables one to remember, order, and control spoken language for effective learning and working.Clients can improve auditory memory and comprehension by applying the Visualizing & Verbalizing program created by Lindamood Bell Learning Systems.
Long-Term MemoryThe ability to hold information in mind for more than 30 seconds. Long-term memory has separate systems: episodic for remembering life-events, semantic for storing factual information, and procedural for remembering routines. Learning to internally visualize and to make conceptual associations between ideas (and details) are the two most trustworthy ways to build memory power.
Reasoning and LogicThe ability to, not only absorb information, but also analyze, associate, and combine it in new ways. The abilities to generate options and make decisions are vital to reasoning. I have adapted the work of Edward DeBono, a creative-thinking expert, to teach clients how to rapidly develop and organize ideas.
Information Processing

John Mohrbacher, LICSW

A licensed clinical social worker, tutor, and organizational coach who specializes in helping children and adults with attention and executive-function difficulties.

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