“ How can memory be improved by use of mental images, concepts and schemas (which help to organise thinking) ? “
Memory is complex but in the simplest of descriptions can be deconstructed into three processes. Firstly, memory is the receiving, processing and combining of information. Secondly it is the storing of information in the brain. And lastly, the third process is the recollection of information. This essay will explore in turn three methods for organising thinking; mental images, concepts and schemas, and will provide relevant research evidence to support how implementation of these methods can improve memory.
A mental image in a constructed mental picture and can be connected to a specific word. This establishes a memory cue within the organisation of the brain. Images are most memorable if they are bold colourful or out of context with their surroundings. When learning foreign languages mental images can be particularly useful. For example, “fallschrim” in german means parachute. Words in english sounding similar are fall and chimp, these
could be key words and the mental image could be a falling chimpanzee with a parachute. The conscious effort of assigning a correlating mental image to a word to be remembered can help fix the information firmly into memory. This is known as keyword technique. An experiment carried out by Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson (1975, cited by Spoors, Dyer, Finlay & Marsh), who developed keyword technique, asked two groups of participants to learn 60 spanish words with only half being taught to use mental images. The results were markedly different. Without instruction to use keywords, half the participants recalled only 28% of the listed words whilst the second group recalled 88% of the words. Another case of mental imagery to aid memory is called the method of loci. This mnemonic device links the mental picture of items to be remembered with a location familiar to the thinker. An example of this would be to...