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

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  • Topic: Memory, Mnemonic, Method of loci
  • Pages : 8 (1276 words )
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  • Published : January 18, 2011
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Task 1
Part A

• Introduction - how I am going to approach the question? • Explain in turn, the different ways in which we organise our thinking. • How can these 3 different ways improve memory?
• Refer to different psychologists research and add references into the essay for evidence and look in course book for relevant ideas • Write a conclusion
• Word count and reference list

Part B

How can the way in which we organise or thinking by using mental images, concepts and schemas help us improve our memory?

I am going to find this out by looking at the different ideas we can use in order for us

to improve our memory. I will look at each idea in turn, give a definition for each of

them and prove that they can all improve our memory in some way or another; I will

achieve this by looking at relevant research that has been carried out by different


Our brain can store lots of different pictures from things we have seen, these are

called mental images. Mental images are the first memory aid to consider, as they can

they send cues out when we went to recall information. There have been many

experiments carried out to suggest that we will remember written or verbal

information better if we form a mental image of the information. Spoors et al. (2010,

p. 36) state that ‘this works best if the images we form are large, colourful and bizarre

as we tend to remember distinctive items rather than everyday items’. An experiment

was carried out by Micheal Raugh and Richard Atkinson (1975) and they proved that

using mental images was an effective way to help learn basic vocabulary of a new

language. They developed the key word technique, which is when you associate a

similar sounding English word (the key word) with a foreign word and form a mental

image of the key word. They carried out a simple experiment on two groups of

participants. The two groups had to learn sixty Spanish words. One of the groups were

taught the key word technique and the other group were not. When they were tested

the participants who used the technique scored 88% compared to 28% from the

participants who did not use the technique. Along with mental images comes

mnemonics. A mnemonic is another strategy that can help improve the memory. In

general mnemonics are verbal, usually in the form of a short poem or reading to help

remember something, for example, ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ tells us all

the colours that appear in a rainbow, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and

Violet. However, they can also be auditory and visual. It appears a good form of a

memory aid and has been proved it triggers our minds, but I would think it works

best if you can remember humorous rhymes and special words, as I do not suppose

everybody can. There is another mnemonic which is ancient and was developed by the

Greek poet, Simonides. This involves linking mental images of the object the person

is trying to remember with a sequence of locations that they already know. This is

formerly known as ‘The method of loci’, meaning place or location, or as ‘Memory

palace’. It is said that many memory contest champions use this mnemonic to recall

words or figures.

The second way that could aid memory is to form concepts. This is basically putting

information into mental categories. The process of developing these categories is

called concept formation. Once you have a concept in your brain you can have sub-

concepts and even further sub-concepts, for example, ‘meat’ is a concept, and we can

divide meat in to lamb, pork, chicken to make the sub-concept and for further sub-

concepts you can divide pork in to sausages, bacon and so on. There was an

experiment carried out by Bousfield (1953). And he asked participants to learn a list

of sixty words in random order that were able to be put into four categories. The

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