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

How Can the way in which we organise our thinking by using mental images, concepts and schemas help us improve our memory.

In Chapter 3 of The Open University Starting with Psychology course book (2010), the section on organisation and improved recall explains that how we organise our thinking can help us improve our memory.   It shows us how mnemonics, or memory tools can help us remember difficult information in a way that it is easier to recall.   Mental Images, where a mental picture is used to give a clue to recall a memory.   Concepts, where information is put into categories so memory can be aided by guessing against stored past experiences and Schemas when information is filed in topics for future reference are 3 ways in which we can organise our memory.   This is a brief explanation of how each method works.

Firstly Mental Images.   Although most people use semantic thought that is they think in words, if we use a a colourful and bizarre mental image of what we wish to remember it takes more time and effort to fix it in our memory and will therefore give us an additional clue to the information when we try to remember it.   Two mnemonics which are examples of mental imaging are the Method of Loci and the Keyword Technique.
The Method of Loci is a system that was devised in Ancient Greece around 500BC by a poet Simonides.   The items to be remembered are pictured in a sequence of familiar locations like around the house or local streets but are imagined in   bizarre and colourful situations.   This has proved to be a powerful aid to memory and is still used over 2000 years later.
The Keyword technique was developed by Michael Rough and Richard Atkinson   (1975), it can be helpful when learning new words in   another language.   The foreign word to be learnt is substituted with an English word or words that sound like the foreign word, then a mental image is formed, linking these words and the definition, again the more vivid and exaggerated the more effective...