Graduates of the SLIM Master of Library Science degree program will be able to evaluate, critique, and discuss new research in the field; assess library or information problems and identify an appropriate research method.
Artifact: Presentation – “Brain, Cognition, Construction”
Link to Presentation
Link to Cognitive Overload Information Sheet
MLS Outcomes: 5, 6, 7
MLS Values: 4
LI 802: Theoretical Foundations of Service – Diagnosis and Customization taught students a psychological approach in diagnosing user information needs. Through the study of psychological models such as Kelly’s personal construct theory and Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, we learned to apply cognitive and psychological research in order to understand individual information behavior, with the eventual goal of using those theories to create and implement targeted information services. These studies were complemented by Dervin’s Sense-Making Theory (1983), which talks about the information gap that opens when someone confronts an incongruity or lack in their construct of knowledge (what Belkin  described as an Anomalous State of Knowledge, or ASK) and how a searcher has to build a sense of that gap in order to resolve it; and by Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (2004), which talks about the cognitive and affective stages through which a researcher will move when searching for information to resolve those gaps.
This presentation and associated information sheet focused on the relationship between perception and cognition, exploring the different ways in which a human brain makes meaning and gives rise to the mind based on available information by answering the question: “What is thought without language?” I researched the work of brain scientists and psychologists working in fields such as left/right brain relationships, synesthesia, holistic brain processing, cognitive overload, and neuron function in order to show that the brain constructs not only meaning and knowledge, but also perception and sensation. In doing the research for this presentation, I tailored my own process to the cognitive and affective stages of Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process. Furthermore, I communicated my findings to a small group of fellow students, tailoring my delivery to their specific learning styles. In doing so I learned to understand and identify salient characteristics and factors related to a person’s perspective as they search for information. This shows I am able to locate, evaluate, and integrate theory from both library science and psychology in order to solve problems related to the information search process and suggest appropriate directions for search and use of information.