Active processing refers to a collection of activities that includes relating new information to information we have in permanent memory, asking questions of the material, and writing summaries or outlines of the material.

Active processing is a cognitive process that involves actively manipulating or transforming incoming information to enhance its meaningfulness or retain it in memory. It is an intentional and effortful process that involves the use of various strategies such as rehearsal, elaboration, and organization.

Examples of active processing include:

  1. Rehearsal: Repeating information over and over again to help encode it into memory. For instance, repeating a phone number multiple times to remember it.

  2. Elaboration: Adding meaningful associations to incoming information to help better understand and remember it. For instance, relating new information to prior knowledge or personal experiences.

  3. Organization: Structuring information to enhance its meaningfulness and ease of recall. For instance, grouping information into categories or creating an outline.

Active processing can be contrasted with passive processing, which involves simply receiving and perceiving information without any intentional effort to retain or manipulate it. Active processing is considered a more effective strategy for learning and retaining information than passive processing.


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