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

TMA 01 - Task 1 Part B

How Can The Way In Which We Organise Our Thinking By Using Mental Images, Concepts And Schemas Help Us Improve Our Memory?


To answer this question, I will be looking at each organisational method in turn. I will be describing each of these terms, then, I will explain how they can help improve memory, and follow that up with evidence in the form of case studies. Finally I will draw up a conclusion summarising the main points that I have made.

Mental Images

A mental image is a picture created within the mind, it can be of a person, an object or a location.

Mental images can be used to recall information in several ways. The idea is that we usually think with words, the extra effort of associating a related image to the information you want to remember, increases your concentration on the information, helps implant it in your mind, and gives you extra cues to remember the information by. The image is more likely to be remembered if it is big and colourful.

A mnemonic is a method of remembering information, it is commonly in the forms of rhyme, or an easy phrase to remember. However in 500bc the Greek poet Simonides developed the ‘method of loci’. The idea is when trying to remember a list of items, to try and picture each item within a sequence of familiar settings.

Mental imaging can improve the recall of foreign words and their meanings using the key word technique. This is where you take the foreign word, and associate the meaning with words that sound similar in English. So “poubelle” is French for bin, and it sounds like pooh and bell. So you could create a mental image of a bin, and combine it with images of pooh (or rather your reaction to it) and bells.

Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson carried out an experiment to see if using this technique could improve the recall of foreign words. They took two groups of subjects, and asked them to memorise sixty Spanish words. The independent variable was...