February 4, 2010
Beh225, Stephanie Robinson
Humans are complex and intricate beings. We all feel, think, behave and look different. However, psychologists and researchers have been developing patterns in how experiences and processes shape the way we are and how we handle certain tasks. There are many variables that shape the way we learn and remember, our attitudes and personality, and what motivates us. To better understand these experiences and processes, I will compare the same characteristics of my own to a young girl named Jenny. We are both close in age, background, gender, race and circumstance.
It is important to know how we learn. Once humans understand the process for which something is learned, we can build on this information to learn better and more efficiently. We can learn behavior through rewards and punishment reinforcing particular behavior, such as with operant conditioning. Humans can also learn behavior by reacting to a stimulus such as becoming stressed when a police officer pulls us over. A third type of learning is cognitive learning; where we learn something but the process in which we learn cannot be directly observed because it is an internal mental process. An example of cognitive learning is a child who watches his or her parents driving a car, notice that they stop at red lights. The child learns that a red light means to stop, however; the child themselves do not stop the car and therefore the behavior and learned rule is not observable.
When learning a behavior, Jenny and I both prefer to observe the behavior being performed rather than reading about it. In my opinion, observing a behavior being performed allows for us to use more senses to remember information. We can pay better attention to the behavior that is being performed and we can imagine ourselves carrying out the particular behavior. When simply reading about a behavior, sometimes it is difficult to imagine it being performed and while reading only one or two senses are being used to take in information to the nervous system.
The way we remember things is a complex process as well. Our minds take in more information than we realize however only a small portion of this information is stored in our memories. A vast amount of information is almost constantly entering our brains from audio and visual senses. Some of this information is stored in our short-term memory where it is replaced quickly, within a few seconds by new sensory information. The attention that we give particular pieces of information is what determines if the information is stored in our long-term memory, which as little limitations for how much can be stored for how long. We can also remember information if the information is rehearsed or gone over several times. Repetition has been proven to be a great way of getting information from our short-term memory to our long-term memory. Once memories are stored in our long-term memory, they are deemed either explicit or implicit memories. Explicit memories are those that can be explained and a person is aware of these memories. Examples of explicit memories are episodic memories, such as what you dressed up as for Halloween when you were eight or the memory of your first kiss; and semantic memories such as the year the Christopher Columbus discovered America or who invented the telephone. Implicit memories are memories that are not easily explained and a person may not even know they have retained them. An example of implicit memories are procedural memories, like how to use a fork; and emotional memories, like the embarrassment you felt when you fell while performing a school play.
When studying and trying to remember information for school, Jenny prefers to study at home where there are minimal distractions and some background noise. In Jenny’s opinion, the distractions help to keep her mind focused by disallowing her thoughts to wander away from the task at...