Tma 01

Y163 10F
How can the way in which we organise our thinking by using mental images, concepts and schemas help us improve memory?
Introduction –
Before we can examine how mental images, concepts and schemas help us improve memory we must first define these terms. A mental image is an image we see in our minds when recalling an item or event.   A concept is a broader based grouping of these mental images which widens our knowledge and memory.   Finally a schema acts as a file in which we store knowledge on a certain event or item which we have gained from past experiences.   To examine how each of these techniques helps us improve our memory we need to look at each one in turn.
1. Mental Images
These are often used in child development.   Big, bright images are used to teach nursery children new words, because pictures help young children to remember.1   Nurseries might use an alphabet frieze, for instance, with bright colourful letters and pictures; for example the letter A could be red with an apple next to it, therefore helping the child associate the apple with the letter A.
Adults tend to be semantic thinkers, and are able to visualise the words themselves.   However mental images are sometimes used to link information they wish to remember.   A perfect example of this is the key word technique used in foreign language teaching developed by psychologists Raugh and Atkinson.2 A key word is an English word that sounds like part of the foreign word to be learned.   For example, the Spanish word Cabina means phone booth, so a mental image of a cab trying to fit into a phone booth could be used.   Making the effort to imagine this picture would fix the word in your memory.
2. Concepts  
Simply put: concepts are categories.   Forming categories acts as a cue when recalling information.   We often use concepts automatically so we are unaware of the fact we are doing it, therefore the technique can be difficult to define.   A child uses concepts in the earlier stages of...