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How can the way we organise our thinking help us improve our memory?

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Introduction

How can the way in which we organise our thinking by using mental images, concepts and schemas help us improve our memory? This essay will look at some of the many ways that we organise our thinking. It will look at mental images, concepts and schemas, and the way that they can be useful aids to the improvement of memory. Thinking can be done in two ways. This is in words and in images. Semantic thought is the term given to thoughts that are based on words and meanings. Iconic thoughts are those that are based on mental images. Through research and experiments it has been shown that iconic thought can lead to better recall of information. Mental Images can be described as as iconic mental representations. The process of remembering things by putting the information that is to be remembered, into iconic pictures. It has been found that mental images are most effective if the images are large, colourful and unusual. As illustrated by Spoors et al. ...read more.

Middle

The second idea i will look at is concepts. Concepts are a way of organising thoughts so that they are in groups (categories). These groups will be of things that have similar features. The categorisation of these thoughts is called concept formation. Concepts can also contain sub-concepts. For example, food as a concept can be split into sub-concepts such as hot, cold, fresh, frozen, sweet and savory. Shopping lists are an example of how concepts can be useful to remember things. This is because the heading of the categories provide cues and makes recalling information easier. Research carried out by Bousfield (1953) illustrates how people tend to remember things in groups. In the experiment participants were shown a list of 60 words, in a random order. These words could be divided into four groups. Results showed that the words tended to be remembered in the groups. Another experiment which shows how concepts can be used for improved recall, was conducted by Mandler (1967). This involved two groups. ...read more.

Conclusion

When a person is faced with a new situation, the knowledge already held, which was obtained from previous experience, can help us determine how we should behave. An experiment done by Bransford and Johnson (1972), illustrates the role of schemas in the understanding and effective recall of information. In this experiment, the participants were asked to read a passage and then recall it as accurately as possible. Half of the participants were given a title for the passage, and the other half wasn't. The majority of the participants found the passage hard to understand and difficult to recall. When tested the group who had been given the title , were found to have had more understanding of what was written, and recalled more information. This was because the tile provided the schema. In conclusion, the way that thoughts are organised by using Mental Images, Concepts and Schemas can help improve recall. Mental Images give us a picture, which we have created to remember information and make recall more efficeint. Concepts and Schemas are similar, they improve memory by putting information into logical and organised groups, with titles providing the cue for prompt recall. Word Count: 1082 Word ...read more.

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