Information Processing and Feedback

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Information Processing and Feedback

Whether learning new skills or performing previously learned skills, the brain controls all thoughts and actions and will use information received from the sensory organs and information stored in the memory to decide the action to be taken.

This process can be represented as a diagram known as a model as is shown below.

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This is the information sent by the sensory organs to the brain.

Too much information may be sent creating information overload.

Decision Making

The brain makes decisions based upon the information received as to what cause of action is required.

Before making any decisions the brain has to decide what is and what is not important information.

To reduce the amount of information that needs processing before the decision is made one of two processes can occur.

Limited Channel Capacity:

All information sent to the brain reaches a bottleneck, allowing only part of it to go for further processing.

Selective Attention:

Enables sense to be made of all the information available, so that only useful information can be acted upon.

Making sense of this information is done by perception and memory.

Perception allows some anticipation to be made.

There are two forms of memory:

Short-term memory (STM): where information is stored for a short time. It will hold information for up to two minutes after which time, if it is not used, it is gone.

Important information coming into STM will be transferred to the long-term memory.

Long-term memory (LTM): has a huge capacity to store all kinds of information that can be quickly retrieved at any given time.


Messages are sent to the muscles, via motor neurones, that stimulate them into co-ordinated contractions producing the action for the desired response.

As a result of the action the brain receives further information. This is known as the feedback loop and enables further decisions to be made.

An applied information processing model:

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It is through feedback that progress and learning occur. Without feedback improvement would be limited if at all existent.

There are two main forms of feedback:

Internal Feedback:

The proprioceptors are the organs that provide internal information and feedback about a movement. This information is relayed back to the brain.

External Feedback

This comes from outside the body through sound and vision and will provide information about the performance this is known as knowledge of performance and the result this is known as knowledge of result.

It could be in the form of a video recording or it could be verbal feedback from the teacher or coach during and after the performance.

External feedback provides valuable information during, after and for the next time the sequence of body movements will be performed.

Positive and Negative Feedback

Any good performance has a positive effect for next time. A good word from the teacher, coach, peer or any significant other will have a very positive effect.

Failure to succeed could give negative feedback and have the opposite effect on a future performance.

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