Tag Archives: cognitive psychology

Why Processing Occupational Information May Be Well-Suited For Your Own “Central-Processing Unit”

Posted by: Jeffrey Landine on July 8, 2011 12:07 pm

Career development is one area of counselling that appears to have embraced the efficiency and seemingly endless capacity of technology to store information in a readily accessible way.  Online assessments and databases such as CHOICES and Career Cruising are now integral aspects of career development curriculum and approaches to career counselling across the country.  Government departments in Canada and the US have taken on the task of developing frameworks for organizing occupations and occupational information (NOC and O*NET) using hierarchical relationships that organize occupations in terms of responsibilities and occupation domains, and level of education.  These frameworks are akin to the hierarchical manner in which information is stored in a computer.

In the realm of cognitive psychology, information-processing models often represent cognition, our information-processing abilities, as involving a series of sequential stages similar to the functioning of a computer where information, the input, is first into the computer through our sensory register.  There it is processed, and the resulting output is an answer or solution to a problem.  With computers, as long as the information at the input end is the same and the internal processes brought to bear on the information are similar, the output is the same, regardless of the computer used.  When the problem or, in the realm we are addressing, a career decision, involves human processing, however, the resulting answers or decisions are not always the same, even when the information being input is the same from one person to the next.  For example, a presentation made to a first-year university class describes the process involved in becoming a corporate banker, the typical duties a banker performs, and future employment outlooks for this occupation.  While all students receive the same information, what is done with the information likely varies from student to student.  This suggests that there are complicating variables that render each individual’s processing of information unique. 

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