How Can We Organise Our Thinking - Three Ways to Improve Our Memory

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Psychologists who study the mental process of thinking, as well as perception, learning, memory and language, work in the area of cognitive psychology. Thinking is probably one of the most difficult processes to describe, as we think in three ways. We think in words and meaning: semantic thought, we think in images by making mental pictures: iconic thought and enactive thought based on impressions of actions, such as tying a shoelace. Our memory provides us with the ability to remember the past and things that we have learnt in the past. On a daily basis we are overloaded with information, so how do we process it?

Firstly, we can organise our thoughts by involving and using mental images which helps us memorise better verbal and written information. So, we think about things by making a mental picture in our mind.

When starting to learn the a new language, mental images are very helpful to learn the basic vocabulary. A very good example of this is the key word technique. To explain this further, imagine a picture of a bell with a lid on it, which has a nasty smell, the French word is "La Poubelle", and is pronounced pooh-bell, which means "bin" in English. You can then make a mental picture of yourself lifting the lid off of the bell shaped bin and saying "pooh". This key word technique created by Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson, who experimented on two groups of participants, who were asked to learn a list of 60 Spanish words. The group that used the key word technique, when all participants were tested, scored an average of 88% and the group that did not use these key words scored 28%.

This proves that the use of mental images help us remember things, and we can develop different memory stagegies such as mnemonics, which are an aid or verse to remember facts. An example of this is, to aid us when setting up a snooker table with the different coloured balls. Most of us know all the red balls go in the triangle, and the location of the black, pink and...
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