Describe How the Use of Mental Images, Concepts and Schemas Can Help Us Organise Our Thinking and Help Us Improve Our Memory

Much thought has gone into studying the way we think in terms of finding out how people absorb and process information. In the following I will discuss how the use of mental images, concepts and schemas can help us organise our thinking and in particular how these ideas can help us improve our memory.

First to cosider is the role of mental images. A mental image is a mental representation or picture or information in psychology often referred to as an iconic thought. Mental images can play an important part when trying to learn a new language. Spoors et all (2011) give an example of learning the french word 'Poubelle' which translates as bin in English. By creating an English key word that at least partly sounds like the french word (Bell) and then creating a mental image for this keyword (eg a bell being used as a bin and which has an unpleasant smell) it becomes a lot easier to recall this word as the mental image provides a hint when we try to remember this information.

An experiment carried out by Rough and Atkinson (1975) also supports the idea that the use of mental images improve recall. Two groups of students were given a list of words to learn in Spanish. The only difference being that one group was instructed to use the key words and mental images (independant variable). As a result of this this group managed to recall a lot more words than the other group that had not used the mental images to remember the words.

Further evidence suggesting mental images   improve recall can be seen in Mnemonic devices. Mnemonics are well known strategies to improve memory.
One of these devices, called Method of loci, was invented in ancient Greece. It is based on the idea of connecting mental images of the items one is trying to remember to a sequence of locations one already knows. Spoors et all (2011) give the example of easily being able to remember a shopping list by creating mental images of the items one is trying to remember and then connecting them to...