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First of all I would like to look at mental images.   Mental images are an iconic mental representation or visual picture for the purpose of recalling information.   As adults we tend to do most of our thinking using semantic thought which is thinking in words.   However, there is evidence to suggest that our ability to remember can be enhanced by incorporating mental images as reminder cues.   Spoors et al 2007 provides an example of how learning a new language can be improved by using images in association with key words to help develop basic vocabulary.   For instance the French word ‘poubelle’ (pronounced poo-bell) translates as bin in English.   This is done by imagining lifting the lid of your bin which has turned into a bell and holding your nose because of the smell of pooh.   This can be beneficial as it provides a simpler and more efficient way of remembering other than repeating words over and over again.

In support of this theory Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson (1975) carried out an experiment on two groups of participants in the development of the key word technique similar to poubelle described above.   The participants were given a list of Spanish words to learn but only half of them were taught to use the key word technique.   The results of the test indicated that those taught using key words scored a considerably higher average to those who did not use the key word strategy.   This indicates that introducing the independent variable of providing the technique to some and not all had an impact on the dependant variable, which resulted in a higher number of words being recalled by the participants.

Techniques using mental images for improving memory have been used for centuries and can be traced back to Ancient Greece.   These strategies are defined as Mnemonics and the most familiar containing several mnemonics is the rhyme “30 days has September, April, June and November…”   By incorporating the mental image this provides an additional cue...