How Can the Way in Which We Organise Our Thinking by Using Mental Images, Concepts and Schemas Help Us to Improve Our Memory

Essay PlanINTRO ??“
This will state the aim of my essay and a brief explanation of what I intend to include in it. (100 – 150 words approx)MAIN BODY –
– A definition of each of the terms using the book as reference material
– Then explore how each help our memory formation and recall using:
o the use of key words by Raugh and Atkinson (1975)
o the idea of concepts by Bousfield (1953) and Mandler (1967)
o and the ??¦..
all cited in Staring with Psychology 2011 as reference material, giving alternative examples to show my understanding of the concepts. (700 – 800 words approx)CONCLUSION ??“
A brief summary and drawing together of all key points included in main body. (100 – 150 words approx)
EssayHow can the way in which we organise our thinking by using mental images, concepts and schemas help us to improve our memory???Cognitive Psychology??™ looks at attention, language, memory, perception and problem solving. Cognitive psychologists believe that our thoughts are organised using a variety of methods which can also support memory formation and recall. The purppose of my essay is to consider the way in which three methods – mental images, concepts and schemas, help us with this function.I aim to define the terms and describe how each helps support our memory, bearing in mind everyone??™is different and not everything works in the same way for everyone, using studies by Raugh and Atkinson, (1975), Bousfield (1953), Mandler (1967) and Bransford and Johnston (1972), (all cited in Starting with Psychology, Spoors et al 2011).Lets start with defining the terms of 3 ways of organising our thoughts and memory so we can be clear about what each is.
Mental images are the abiltiy of the human brain to visualise something that it has previously ???seen/experienced??™ but isn??™t presently there.
Concepts are something formed in the mind such as an idea, thought or notion. Concept formation is the process of making a mental note of something that share similarities or links
Schemas are a mental structure/framework that help us to organize and interpret information in the world around us.
Looking first at??™ Iconic thought??™ (thinking based on using mental images). Most of our adult thinking involves the use of words and images. If you think about the internal conversation we have in our minds we not only ???talk??™ to ourselves, but use images to support those words. When we try to form a memory it??™s argued that the use of mental images supports us, as it takes us time, effort and concentration to construct the image in the first instance, this gives the brain time to firmly log it into our memory. This is then used to support our memory recall. Raugh and Atkinson (1975) (pg 45 Spoors et al. 2011) developed an experiment to test this, using the ???key Word??™ technique. They asked a group of individuals to learn a list of 60 Spanish words. They split the group into 2 and taught one group the ???Key Word??™ technique which they believed would help them recall the words. They were all given the same time to carry out the test and all tested at the end. Those who used the ???key Word??™ technique averaged 88%, whereas the others averaged 28%. Thus confirming their theory that using Key words supports memory recall.
Secondly we use ???Concept Formation??™ the ???process of making a mental representtion of a group of objects or events that share similar properties??™ (cited on pg 50 Spoors et al. 2011).
Bousfield (1953) and Mandler (1967) (cited on pg 53 Spoors et al. 2011) carried out another experiment with words on cards. They, again, divided the participants into 2 groups, asking both to sort the cards into ???groups??™, but used an independent variable whereby one group were also asked to memorise the words whilst sorting them. On test, there was no recognisable difference in results. This showed that it was the categorising which aided the memory rather than trying to remember.
The last method, the use of ???Schemas??™ is a similar technique to the method of concept formation, but more extensive. Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget came up with this (pg 54 Spoors et al. 2011). Schemata are the brains way of organising or filing thoughts and knowledge of something experienced and other similar things into one ???file??™ or ???package??™ so when you recall one bit the other things you associate with it can be drawn upon also helping us interpret the world around us. E.g. when an infant is learning, they may think that the tall male figure around them with short hair and a deep voice is ???Dad??™ and so when out in the shops they call every man or person who is tall with short hair and a deep voice ???Dad??™, as this is their current knowledge set /schema. Slowly they realise that only one is dad and the others are just ???men??™ and so develop a new schema of a ???man??™ as well as ???Dad??™.
Bransford and Johnson (1972) (cited on pg 55 Spoors et al. 2011) explored the role of schemata, our understanding and memory recall using the ???washing clothes??™ experiment. They asked 2 groups to read a passage and to recall as much as possible. One group were however given the title of the passage ??“ ???washing clothes??™ This group were able to recall far more than the other as the title provided them with a schema which they used to support their understanding of the passage, interpret it appropriately and use this information to support their recall.
Sorting and filing our thoughts using schemata, supports memory recall as one thing opens the drawer/file and other associated things come with it.
It??™s also possible that we add bits in to our memory according to what our schema is around that situation. Our feelings and attitides are linked here and can make us believe things that haven??™t happened or are not quite true about someone which can unfortunately lead to steroetyping and discrimination depending on the experieinces and information we have stored away.In conclusion our brains are highly complex structures which operate in a variety of ways dependant on the individual and what it??™s trying to perform. The use of the 3 methods I??™ve discussed above have a very useful role in the way we interpret, store and recall our thoughts and experiences. Mental images support the brain to visualise something that it has previously experienced but isn??™t presently there; Concept formation, categorises groups of objects or events that share similar properties to help us understand the world around us and file things together to make sense in future; then lastly Schemas, the framework that helps us organize and interpret information in the world around us. All help us understand what is going on around us, store it effectively and efficiently in order to support our memory and ability to recall information.Word count: 1005References
Bousfield (1953) (cited on pg 53 Spoors et al. – Starting with Psychology 2011)
Bransford and Johnson (1972) (cited on pg 55 Spoors et al. – Starting with Psychology 2011)
Mandler (1967) (cited on pg 53 Spoors et al. – Starting with Psychology 2011)
Piaget (cited on pg 54 Spoors et al. – Starting with Psychology 2011)
Raugh and Atkinson (1975) (cited on pg 45 Spoors et al. – Starting with Psychology 21011)

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