How Can the Way in Which We Organise Our Thinking by Using Mental Images, Concepts and Schemas Help Us Improve Our Memory?

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  • Topic: Memory, Idea, Concepts
  • Pages : 3 (1093 words )
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  • Published : February 5, 2012
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According to Spoors et al. (2011) thinking is perhaps one of the most difficult of all psychological processes to describe. We can organise our thoughts by using mental images, forming concepts or developing schemas. In this essay, I will describe each way of organising thinking in turn and illustrate how they can help us improve our memory. First, to consider the role of mental images. Forming mental images simply means thinking in pictures. Spoors et al. (2011) suggest that it works best if the images we form are large, colourful and bizarre, as we tend to remember distinctive items better than everyday items. The mental image will give us another cue when we come to recall the information. The effort we make to form the image will also help to fix it in our memory. Spoors et al. (2011) give an example of making a picture of a bell used as a bin, with a bad smell, and which can help us remember the French word ‘poubelle’ for bin in English. Here you can see that the first step is to think of an English word or words that sound like the French word and then make a mental picture of the key word or words. Michael Rough and Richard Atkinson (1975), who developed the key word technique, carried out a research on two groups of participants, who were asked to learn 60 Spanish words. Only half of them were taught to use the key word technique and when tested later, the participants using key words scored an average of 88 per cent in comparison to only 28 per cent by the participants that did not use key words. As stated in Spoors et al. (2011) a number of strategies for improving memory, also known as mnemonics, are based on mental images. Such as the ‘Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain’ for remembering the colours in the rainbow. A technique developed in Ancient Greece called ‘method of loci’ works by linking mental images of items that the learner is trying to memorise with a sequence of locations. For example, it can be used to memorise a shopping list using the...
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