Y183 Tma01


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

This essay will address how thinking can be organised by using mental images, concepts and schemas in helping improve memory skills. It will look at different patterns of thinking and explain various experiments which support the evidence showing how memory can be enhanced by using these three different approaches. The process of thinking involves both the use of words and images; psychologists define these thoughts as iconic, which are thinking based on mental images or pictures and semantic where thinking is based on words and meanings.
The first approach to be discussed is the term mental image; this is where a mental picture has been formed to process a thought. Mental images have proved to be very effective when used to enhance memory skills.   Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson (1975) Spoors et al. (2011, p.45) developed a key word technique which proved very effective in helping people learn a foreign language; by using pictures of words which translate into an image that can be remembered. One example is ‘poubelle’ which is French for bin; picture lifting a bell shaped lid off a smelly bin: poo and bell, that image is stored in the memory for recall at a later time. An experiment was carried out with individuals learning sixty Spanish words, those who used the key word technique scored 88 per cent compared to 28 per cent from those who did not.

Another effective strategy for improving memory is ‘mnemonics’. This is where sayings or rhymes help memory; for example ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ which equates to the colours of the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Another form of mnemonics is the method of loci, which was developed by an ancient Greek poet back in 500BC. This is where mental images, which in this case could be items on a shopping list, are then organised into a sequence of...