Information entering the memory can take on different forms, e.g. images, sounds or meaning. A way in which information is processed is through encoding, which is when information enters the sensory memory and is changed into a form that the memory can store it in. Information can be encoded as visual, acoustic or semantic. Evidence suggests that the primary encoding method for information to be stored in the short term memory (STM) is through acoustic coding. This is strengthened through the verbal process of rehearsal. The primary encoding method for information to be stored in the long term memory is semantic coding. This is when information is stored by meaning, and this can be coded both visually and acoustically. 1
Rusted and Coltheart (1979) carried out an experiment on nine-year-old children who were asked to read detailed passages presented with or without drawings. The presence of pictures increased the recall of both pictorial and non-pictorial features from the passages. They concluded that pictures play a fundamental role in the improvement of children’s recall of passages. 2
The Dual Coding Theory of memory was proposed by Paivio (1971) in order to explain the powerful effects of imagery. The theory explains that imagery can strengthen the recall of verbal material because when a word brings to mind an associated image, two separate but linked memory traces are formed, one in each of the memory stores. Therefore, the likelihood that information will be retrieved is much greater if it is stored in two functional locations as opposed to just one. 3 Many experiments conducted by Paivio support this theory. In one experiment, the participants saw pairs of items that differed in size and were asked to indicate which member of the pair was bigger. The objects were presented as words, pictures or word-picture pairs. The response times were slowest for word-word pairs, intermediate for the picture-word pairs,...
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