According to Cognitive Psychologists there are important points about our memories and some benefits in improving it, we need to look first at what part of the brain is involved and it’s brief functions. Our brain constantly recalls and forms new memories, and the part of the brain that deals with memories is the hippocampus, which is located near the centre of the brain. There are three different types of memory used to store different types of information. Semantic is factual knowledge such as remembering capital cities.
Episodic is personal past experiences, what a person’s kind of game she used to play during childhood, and Procedural memory is how to do something such as frying an egg, for example. Organizing thinking using various methods can improve memory recall. According to a range of research studies including the work of Raugh and Atkinson (1975), Bousfield (1953) and Bransford and Johnson (1972), Spoors et al, (2011), we can apply the use of mental images, concepts and schemas to improve our memory in different ways.
Firstly, is that mental images can help us not only to organize our thinking but also make us remember what we need when need it. In the Y163 course book (2011) Spoors gives an example in a picture of a bell that has an unpleasant smell which can remind us of the word ‘poobelle’ a word which means ‘bin’ in English and translating from French sounds like a bell full of pooh. And indicates a good way to learn another language too. Another Example in mental image is the experience carried out by Michael Raugh and Richard Atkinson (Spoors et al, 2011).
Where two groups of participants were asked to remember a list of 60 Spanish words. In the first group they were manipulated and taught to use key words and the second did not. When tested later the group that used key words to make a mental image scored considerably higher than the group that did not. Proving that making a mental image of a keyword could improve memory recall. Another interesting strategy called mnemonics based on using mental images, developed in the year 500 BC by the poet Simonides, is the ‘method of loci’.
The technique works by the person linking mental images of the items they are trying to remember with a sequence of locations that they already know. For example, take a shop list and imagine every item at different points around the house, replacing with items in the list. ‘Using mental images to organize our thoughts can make our thinking and remembering much more efficient. However, there are other organizing principles which can also be useful, such as sorting information into categories. ’ (Y183 2011).
Secondly, ‘Concept formation is the process of making a mental representation of a group of objects or events that share similar properties. ’Y183 (2011). It is essential to our lives and helps us to organize into categories the complex world around us into simpler way to interact with another human beings, animals, and all sorts of other things. For example, we have created concepts of objects such as furniture, in the figure 19 Y183 (2011) there is a non-typical table, without legs and having lots of drawers, but in our concept we still can define it as a table.
Most of the time we form concepts almost automatically and are rarely aware we are using them. Although, it is like a natural ability for us, it is not always so simple. i. e. ‘Children often make mistakes by overgeneralising a concept that they are trying to get grips with. They may have developed a concept for a dog as an animal with hair, four legs, and a tail, but then they may also apply this label to a cat or a sheep or even a horse’. Y183 (2011).
On the other hand, in some George Mandler (1967) researches, he suggests when information is organized becomes easier for us to remember. An experiment in two different groups of participants, where both were given a pack of 100 cards marked with words, and both were told to sort the cards out into groups, despite how many times they tried. However, there was some differences between the two groups results, because the first group were told to memorize the words while sorting out, whilst, the second group were told only to sort out the cards.
Later, when both group were tested the participants that were told only to sort out the cards, could remember as many words as the other group who were told to memorize the words during the process. Finally, is an organized abstract mental framework, psychologists call Schemas, a bit similar to concept formation but more extensive. It permits us to appropriately file all our knowledge’s of objects, situations, experiences, and groups of people and ourselves in a way that provides cues to our memory.
For example, if you apply concept formation to the word dentist, you would probably categorise dentist as an occupation, however, if you list everything that you associate with the word dentist, this would give you your dentist schemas’. Y183 (2011). Jean Piaget, an influential Swiss psychologist was the first to introduce the term Schema (plural schemas, schematas). He spent over 50 years studying the ways in which children developed their thinking and cognitive skills, and in his proposals was that as they develops schemas it helps the understanding of their world experiences.
For better understand, it is like our memory had huge filing cabinets and every file of the cabinet is a schema, where we keep information about sports, animals, people things etc, since our childhood. In conclusion, we can say that to improve our memory using mental images and concepts formation by creating pictures gives extra cues. And using Schemas to store the information properly make us able to access it much easier when we need it.