Effects of Memory and Learning

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Can we really learn from our mistakes? If so, how does that actually happen? Knowledge and education has helped create connections with everything that we see in society. We call these connections that have formed our memories, both good and bad. Psychologists have researched and gathered information on the creation or formation of memories and learned behaviors. Furthermore, psychologists have provided ample information on how memories can affect the education of students or people looking to learn something new. Therefore, it is through the increase attention to the ways the mind is able to obtain memories and information that can essentially help us decrease our mistakes. Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin developed a three-step model that details on how the brain is able to process and develop memories. All memories are created through the fleeting sensory memory before it is encoded into a short-term memory so that it can be continually rehearsed before it is translated into a long-term memory (Meyers, 2011). Basically Atkinson and Shiffrin’s theory is based on the idea that the mind can only retain information that is consciously received; however the modified version offered by Meyers (2011) presents a much different idea. According to Meyers the mind still translates incoming information into a sensory memory (Meyers 2011). The second step to this modified version still claims the encoding of the sensory memory into a working memory. This working memory concentrates on the encoding and active processing of current immediate stimuli (Meyers, 2011). Over time the information is rehearsed and turned into a long-term memory. The great thing about the working memory concept is that it associates new and old information and solves problems so that we are able to handle all situations that we engage in. So what factors and behaviors increase memory retention? To begin most information is encountered and retained through the act of rehearsing, or conscious repetition (Meyers, 2011). Techniques and habits that have been proven to be successful through research has shown that prolonged exposure to the spacing effect, self-assessment, and serial position effect increases the individual’s ability to retain information much better than a person cramming last minute (Meyers, 2011). By providing a proper methodical and organized way to engage in new information a person gives the mind enough time to recall the information consistently for several years. Aside from rehearsing our mids are able to respond to encoding through multiple ways. Practicing the ability to form mental pictures, or imagery, helps build the minds ability to associate pictures and words (Meyers, 2011). A foundational element used from the beginning of time. Young children usually point to items in a home or outside and name the item they see according to what the teachers or parents say. Imagery is used by mnemonic devices in order to develop the retention and recall of memorized information via passages or speeches used by some of the best public platform speakers (Meyers, 2011). Through the use of imagery and mnemonic devices our minds are able to form a meaning to what we are trying to convey and ultimately we are able to organize and catalogue what we have learned within our memory. Understanding what factors and behaviors gives into the creation of our memory we as people and students are able to understand how teachers and psychologists are able to train our minds for further retention and absorption of information.

Often at times failure seems to be the very thing that we learn from. It is from our parents and grandparents that we have heard the old trite adage “We learn from experience.” It wasn’t until psychologists and educators came together to propose the testing effect. The “test effect” is essentially a well-established psychological phenomenon that proves that testing students on previously absorbed information allows for them...
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