Materials for architecture in the brain converge from various sensory organs
Kenya Hara, Designing Design, p.156
In the book ‘Designing Design’, Kenya Hara discusses the Architecture of Information, positing that in the mind, images are constructed from sensory input and retrieved memories, with memories being the “primary material of the image”.
The limitations of ‘Woking Memory’ are outlined in “Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design” by Sweller et al, with a loose limit of 7 items that can be held and processed in there at any one time. Human beings are said to get around this seeming limitation by making use of larger tree-based structures, known as Schemas, held in long term memory, as Sweller et al put it:
Although the number of elements is limited, the size, complexity, and sophistication of elements is not. A schema can be anything that has been learned and is treated as a single entity. If the learning process has occurred over a long period of time, the schema may incorporate a huge amount of information. Our schema for a restaurant includes extensive knowledge about food and its functions in human affairs; money and its role in exchanging goods and services; the basic architecture of buildings; furniture and how it is used; plus many other facts, functions, processes, and entities. This huge array of elements has been acquired over many years but can be held in working memory, as a single entity.
This use or aggregation of previous knowledge to allow us to construct meaning and analyse or respond to our current situation links back to what Hara is saying about memory:
Memories not only lead the recipient to voluntarily ruminate on the past, but, called up in succession as the brain receives outside stimuli, also act to flesh out an image for understanding new information.