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

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

In this essay I intend to explain some of the many ways that human beings organise their thinking. I also intend to look at explaining mental images, concepts and schemas, and the way that they can be useful aids to the improvement of memory. Organising our thoughts can improve our quality of everyday life and help us deal with the world more efficiently. Our memory is crucial to the easy running of our lives.

First I’ll look at mental images. A mental image is simply a picture that is stored in the brain; drawn from something that has been previously observed. As adults, we think mostly in words and meanings, this is given the term, semantic thought. By contrast, Iconic thought is the term given to thoughts based on mental images. Research and experiments have shown that using iconic thought as well as semantic thought together can help us remember verbal and written information that we’re trying to recall; especially if the image is bright and bizarre as we tend to remember distinctive items rather than everyday items. It is theorised that due to evolution, humans have become good at remembering visual information.

Using mental images when you first start a new language has proven to help remember words. this system is used successfully by the Rosetta stone company in their language courses. This system, developed by Raugh and Atkinson, is called The Key Word technique (Raugh and Atkinson, 1975, cited in Spoors et al., 2011). An example taken from the Y183 openings course book (Spoors et al., 2011, p.45) shows how mental images can be useful; the French word ‘Poubelle’ which means bin in English. Making a mental picture of the key word with the English translation can be achieved by picturing yourself lifting the lid off a bin, which then turns into a bell whilst holding your nose. The idea of a smell reminds you of the ‘pooh’ -the smell...