Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Parallel Processing

  • Anna MacKay-BrandtEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1320


A theoretical characterization of processing stages for operations that occur simultaneously, in which two stages occur independently and at the same time.

Historical Background

Even some of the earliest information processing models, at a time in which serial processing models prevailed, included parallel processing as a component. Broadbent (1958) proposed that sensory information was processed in parallel, whereas cognitive processes were serial. The influence of biological models of the mind emerging over the past 30 years has expanded our understanding of the multiple redundant pathways in the brain and the biological possibility of parallel information processing at ever-increasing levels of information processing complexity. This is best illustrated in the work of Van Essen and his colleagues (e.g., Van Essen and Anderson 1990), who have extensively mapped the visual system of the monkey from basic perceptual processes to higher-order cognition.

Current Knowledge


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References and Readings

  1. Broadbent, D. E. (1958). Perception and communication. Elmsford: Pergamon.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  7. Van Essen, D. C., & Anderson, C. H. (1990). Information processing strategies and pathways in the primate retina and visual cortex. In S. F. Zornetzer, J. L. Davis, & C. Lau (Eds.), An introduction to neural and electronic networks (pp. 43–72). New York: Academic.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric ResearchOrangeburgUSA
  2. 2.Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA