resources may include textbook reading assignments H u m a n i t i e s

resources may include textbook reading assignments H u m a n i t i e s

Introduction to Information Processing Theory, Ecological Theory, and the Sociocultural Approach

This week, you will focus on Information Processing Theory (Miller, 1956), Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory (Bronfenbrenner, 2000), and Vygotsky’s sociocultural approach to development (Vygotosky, Riber, & Wollock, 2012). Information Processing Theory holds that humans process information in similar ways to computers. When people encounter a stimulus, they input it, store it, and produce an output or response to it. Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory posits that people exist within multiple layers of context, which impact their development. Vygotsky’s sociocultural approach highlighted the importance of community and culture in shaping learning and placed a strong emphasis on the importance of language in shaping thought and understanding.

There are many ways that MFTs can incorporate the concepts from these theories. For example, when you think about the influence of Lev Vygotsky on the field of Marriage and Family Therapy, such concepts as scaffolding come to mind. Scaffolding is the idea of creating closer and closer approximations of an end goal with the assistance of someone more able to engage in the desired process or behavior (known as a more knowledgeable other).

While reading the assigned materials, consider the main concepts of each theory (e.g., the concept of microsystem in Bronfenbrenner’s theory or the concept of the zone of proximal development in Vygotsky’s theory). Also, reflect on corresponding ideas between the introduced theoretical constructs and ideas embraced by systems-based therapeutic approaches that you have studied so far in the program. Finally, consider how these concepts can be adapted for clients based on their developmental stage.


Bronfenbrenner, U. (2000). Ecological systems theory. In Encyclopedia of Psychology, Vol. 3. (pp. 129–133). American Psychological Association.

Miller, G. (1956). Human memory and the storage of information. IRE Transactions on Information Theory, Information Theory, IRE Transactions on, IRE Trans. Inf. Theory, 2(3), 129–137.…

Vygotsky, L. S., Rieber, R. W., & Wollock, J. (2012). The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky: Problems of the theory and history of psychology (Vol. 1997). Springer.

Weekly Resources and Assignments

Review the resources from the Course Resources link, located in the top navigation bar, to prepare for this week’s assignments. The resources may include textbook reading assignments, journal articles, websites, links to tools or software, videos, handouts, rubrics, etc.

After completing this week’s readings, submit a discussion post that addresses the following prompts:

  • Identify at least one key concept from each studied theory (Information Processing, Ecological Theory, and Sociocultural approach).
  • Explain how you could incorporate each of these theories into your MFT model of choice (e.g., Structural, Strategic, Bowen, SFBT, Collaborative). Be sure to provide a specific example of how you would use the theories to inform your assessment and/or interventions.

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