Karen Attwell
Y183 TMA01
PI – Y4265141

Task 1
How can the way in which we organise our thinking by using mental images, concepts and schemas help us improve our memory?

I will start with looking at mental images. A mental image is a way of organising our thoughts, so that we remember information. This has more of an impact if the images we have are big and colourful. There are experiments that support the idea that verbal and written information will be remembered better if we form a mental image of the information we are trying to memorise. For example when you first learn a foreign language, using mental images helps students grasp basic vocabulary. This is the key word technique, developed by Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson (1975).
For example ‘spoors et al (2007)’ using mental images to memorise a new language, in this case French. Taking the French word Poubelle, which means bin in English, think of words that sound like the French word. You then make a mental image of the word with the English meaning. So in this case the image is yourself lifting the lid off a bin which has turned into a bell, whilst holding your nose, because of the ‘pooh’.

Mental images improve our memory by giving us another cue to help us recall information, and the effort we make to form this image will stay in our memory. Mnemonics or memory strategies are other techniques for improving the memory, which are also based on using mental images.

For example Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson (1975) developed the key word technique. They carried out an experiment on two groups of participants, who were asked to learn a list of 60 Spanish words. Only half of them were taught to use the key word technique. When they were later tested, the participants using key words scored an average of 88 per cent. The participants that didn’t use the key word technique only scored 28 per cent.

I will now look at how concepts can organise our thinking and help us to improve our...