March 8, 2013
The process of learning, retaining, encoding and remembering information in the human brain is complex yet simple. The human memory is categorized in two major forms the short term memory and long term memory. Short term memory is the memory in which we are just required to remember some information to be able to execute a certain duty. For instance, when memorizing a phone number so that we can dial at the instance. This form of memory is also linked to working memory. Working memory is form of short term memory which is required to access the necessary information required in working (Baron & Kalsher, 2005). The memory here is progressive as it is required to run a given task. For instance, when operating a machine such as driving a car, one needs working memory to know when to engage a low or a high gear. Long term memory on the other hand is memory that is acquired and stored in our memories for longer periods of time in weeks, months, or years. It`s not possible to determine the amount of long term memory that can be stored. Whereas short term memory can be forgotten for good, long term memory can still be reconstructed after a very long time if enough information is presented.
In learning or studying for an exam, Mary requires long term memory. Particularly, episodic memory is applicable in studying (Baron & Kalsher, 2005). Episodic memory is memory associated with events or experiences that happen to us personally, such as learning. When studying, we have to memorize various concepts, formulas, terms and definitions which are stored in episodic memory because we know that we learned it during a specific time and place (Baron & Kalsher, 2005). In order for Mary to remember what she is studying during her exams, she needs to apply the four principles of memory while studying for her exams as described by Schwartz and Son (2011). They include
Processing materials actively to process materials actively entails emphasizing active and elaborative processing otherwise known as meaningful processing. This process also seeks to associate the information being learnt with already known information.
Practice retrieval to practice retrieval entails learning by remembering information from memory, such as taking tests. For instance, reading materials and then practicing recalling help in future memory, rather than restudying the same material without practising memory recall.
Use of distributed practice this is learning that is spread out across significantly long periods of time as opposed to learning massed at once. This is popularly known as spacing effect. In this principle of memory, instances of spacing between learning gives the brain time to assimilate and store knowledge in a systematic manner, enable encoding and retrieval of information. Hence, Mary can utilise distributed practice to improve her memory during exams and enable her perform better.
Use of metamemory metamemory is the judgements and decisions a person makes about their own learning and memory. Beliefs and judgements are known as memory monitoring while decisions that a person makes based on monitoring are known as control. For instance, students like Mary monitor their learning while studying, which enable then to make decisions regarding how to study, when to study and what materials to use while studying.
Conclusively, Mary needs to study repetitively and with spacing to boost long term memory recall, actively think about the resources while making resources personally meaningful. To boost memory, she can also use mnemonic devices such as associating peg words (information already known), recall events when they are still fresh before experiencing misinformation and also minimize interference.
Baron, A.R. & Kalsher, J.M. (2005). Psychology: From Science to Practice. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
Schwartz, B.L. & Son, L.K. (2011). Four Principles of Memory Improvement: A Guide to Improving Learning Efficiency, The International Journal of Creativity & Problem Solving 21(1), 7-15.
Memory & Studying (Name)