Automatization is a process by which a task or behavior becomes automatic and requires minimal cognitive effort or conscious attention to perform. This process occurs through practice and repetition, resulting in the formation of a cognitive schema that allows for the efficient and automatic processing of information. In other words, the more we do something, the more automatic it becomes, and the less mental effort we need to apply to do it.
Examples of automatization can be found in a wide range of everyday activities, such as typing on a keyboard, driving a car, playing an instrument, or even walking. Initially, these activities require a lot of conscious effort and attention to perform, but with practice, they become easier and more automatic. As a result, we can perform them quickly and efficiently, often without even thinking about it.
One of the main benefits of automatization is that it frees up cognitive resources that can be used for other tasks. When a behavior becomes automatic, it no longer requires conscious attention, which allows us to focus on other things. This is why experienced drivers can have a conversation while driving or why professional musicians can perform complex pieces while simultaneously paying attention to their surroundings.
Another important aspect of automatization is that it can be context-dependent. For example, if we learn to type on a QWERTY keyboard, it may be difficult to type on a different keyboard layout, such as AZERTY or Dvorak. This is because our automatic behavior schema has become specifically adapted to the QWERTY layout. Similarly, if we learn to drive a car with an automatic transmission, it may be difficult to drive a car with a manual transmission because the behavior schema has become automatized to the automatic transmission.
Other related concepts to automatization include habituation, which is a reduction in response to a stimulus after repeated exposure, and chunking, which is the process of organizing information into meaningful units that can be easily remembered and processed.
In the field of psychology, automatization has been extensively studied as a fundamental aspect of cognitive processing. Researchers have investigated the factors that influence the speed and efficiency of automatization, such as the frequency and consistency of practice, the complexity of the task, and the individual's cognitive abilities.
Overall, automatization is an important process that allows us to perform complex tasks with minimal cognitive effort, freeing up cognitive resources for other tasks. It is an essential aspect of our daily lives and has important implications for learning, skill acquisition, and performance.