Y163 Mental Images, Concepts and Schemas Can Aid Us in Helping to Improve Our Memory

Firstly, if we begin by looking at mental images. The idea of this is that we form a mental picture of what we are trying to remember and perhaps elaborate on it with a distinctive form in which we are more likely to recall. There is a very good example in the course book, using the keyword technique, which was developed by Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson (1975). The technique was particularly beneficial for those learning foreign languages. The course book example was that of the French word “poubelle” (pronounced pooh belle), English translation of word is bin. So if we were to put a mental image to this, we would think of a smelly bin “pooh” and the shape of the bin as a bell, using this technique can make learning a language easier and more fun to learn ad most importantly more memorable.

When Raugh and Atkinson (1975) developed the keyword technique, the experiment was carried out on a group of people who were learning Spanish. The experiment consisted of two groups; one group who had been trained to use the keyword technique and the second group had not. The result of this was, out of the sixty words that both groups had been given to remember, the group trained in the keyword technique achieved an average of 88% compared to the average of 28% for the second group. This shows that mental images can indeed be a useful tool in improving our memory.

Secondly, now we are going to look at the use on concepts in aiding our memory. Concept formation is a process where an individual can put ideas, firstly into a concept, and from there further concepts. This might sound complicated but if we look at the example on page 40 in the course workbook, if we take a sparrow we classify this as a bird, but we can think of further sub concepts for sparrow i.e. wings, beaks and flying for instance. We can also take everyday items and put them into concepts and sub concepts to aid our memory. Often categorising is easier for some people to remember rather than trying...