That our X, Y, or Z is the same ≠ We’re all the same

3-Star learning experiences

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

We, among other scientists, often claim that our cognitive architecture is quite simple and that this applies to each and every one of us (apart from very few specific exceptions). Simply stated, we all have a sensory memory that perceives/handles incoming information (stimuli), a working memory that does something with the information perceived (maintains and rehearses it), and a long-term memory that stores the processed information (encodes it/adds it to relevant cognitive schemata thus broadening and deepening them) and makes it available to us (retrieval). Here’s a schematic representation of this cognitive architecture:

Simplified image of our cognitive architecture

The claim that we all have the same cognitive architecture isn’t always appreciated, to put it mildly. The people who vehemently oppose the idea that our brains are ‘built’ the same, generally use the same arguments to express their discontent. They say things like:


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