How Can the Way in Which We Organise Our Thinking by Using Mental Images, Concepts and Schemas Help to Improve Memory?

How can the way in which we organise our thinking by using mental images, concepts and schemas help to improve memory?

    As adults we mainly use a semantic thought process, this is thinking in words. We also perform many day to day tasks using an enactive thought process, such as driving a car. We do this automatically as if the memory is stored in our muscles. However there are further thought processes we can use to improve our memory and recall such as iconic thought, concept formation and schemas.

    Iconic thought is the process of thinking in pictures and it has been shown that this is a useful tool in recollecting information. A key word technique has been developed that is particularly useful when learning a foreign language. This involves finding an English word that sounds like the foreign word then picturing a mental image to cue the recall of the word. Raugh and Atkinson (1975) found this key word technique to be successful when participants attempted to learn sixty Spanish words. Half of their participants were taught this technique and showed an 88% recall. Compare this with a 28% recall with those not taught this technique and it would seem to be a successful aid in improving memory. Another technique using mental image to improve recall is a type of memory strategy known as mnemonics. A well known poem is actually a mnemonic and is a useful cue to remember a certain sequence of events. For example the mnemonic to remember the colour and sequence of the rainbow is Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. The first letter of each word is the first letter of a colour of the rainbow in the same order. Mnemonics have been used since ancient times; one such was called the Method of Loci which entailed linking a mental image to a location the person knew. These methods of using iconic thought show how successful mnemonics can be when used as a cue to recall information, as forming an image fixes it into our memory.

      A second successful way...