TMA 01

How can memory be improved by use of mental images, concepts and schemas?


In this essay about mental images, concepts and schemas I am going to explain how they help us to improve our memory. I am also going to give examples of how we may use these methods everyday.


A mental image is a clue that helps us to recall information and the effort used to fix the image to our memory which helps us to remember making it much more efficient. Large, colourful or bizarre images tend to work best.

There are three main types of memory. Episodic, semantic and procedural. Episodic memory are memories we have from our past, semantic memory of facts and our procedural memory is our memory of how to do things. Semantic thoughts are based on words and meaning whilst iconic thoughts use mental images. Another way of thinking is enactive thought, this is when we represent some things like mental movements such as riding a bike.
Mnemonic is a technique used for improving memory they are based on using mental images. A mnemonic that is commonly used is ‘30 days hath September, April, June and November, all the rest have 31, except February which has 28...'. This is called the ‘method of loci. ‘An ancient mnemonic device called ‘method of loci’ was developed by the poet Simonides who lived in Ancient Greece. This method works by the learner linking mental images of the items that they are trying to remember with a sequence of locations that they already know’ which is referred to in   ‘Starting with Psychology’ (2011) Module text p47, Open University.

When learning a new language linking a mental image has proved effective for helping people grasp a foreign language. This is known as the key word technique. We can refer to the Raugh and Atkinson experiment where ‘For example take the French word ‘poubelle’ (pronounced pooh-bell) which translates as ‘bin’ in English. The first step is to think of an English word or words that...