Improving Your Memory
MEMORY AND LEARNING
hard to focus on anything very long if your life is full of distractions and competing responsibilities or if you’re not getting enough sleep. (How much is enough sleep? 7 to 8 hours nightly. Do you get this much?)
This makes it easy to blame a poor memory on the way we
live. But obviously, to do well in college - and in life - it’s
important that you improve your ability to remember.
As one writer
has said, “there is no learning without memory.” On the other
hand, not all memory involves real learning.
If you know the date the Civil War began and the Fort where the first shots were fired, but you don’t
know why the War was fought, you’re missing the point of the
War. College is about knowing the cause and effect of an issue.
So don’t forget that while recall of specific facts
is certainly necessary, it isn’t
sufficient to demonstrate deep learning.
Deep Learning involves understanding the “Why” and “How” behind the details.
HOW MEMORY WORKS
In your text, Kenneth Higbee (1988) describes two different types of memory, Short-term memory
and Long term-memory. (Alzheimer’s effect which?)
Short term memory is
where information is initially stored, however, its important to note that information stored in short term memory
is forgotten in less than thirty seconds (and sometime much faster) unless you take action to either keep that
information in short term memory or move it to long term memory.
Although short-term memory is limited, it has a number of uses. It serves as an immediate but temporary holding
tank for information. It helps you to maintain reasonable attention so that
you can keep track of topics as you converse. It also enables you to stay on task with goals you are pursuing at any moment.
But even the simplest functions of short-term memory fail on occasion. If the telephone rings, if someone ask you a question, if you’re interrupted in any way, you may
find that your attention suffers and that you essentially have to start over in reconstructing short-term memory. (I’m sure you have had the experience of having to say “Now
Where were we” or if you didn’t get to say something in a conversation when it was on your mind, you completely
forget what you wanted to say in the first place).
Long-term memory is the type
of memory that you will need to improve in order to remember what you’re learning in college. It can be described in three ways:
how to do something such as solving a mathematical problem or playing
a musical instrument)
facts and meanings without remembering where and when you learned those
particular events, their time and place)
EXAMPLES OF EACH ARE:
You are using procedural memory
when you get on a bicycle you haven’t ridden in years, or when you recall the first piece you learned to play on the
Your semantic memory is used continuously
to recall word meanings or important dates, such as your mother or father’s birthday.
Episodic memory allows you to remember events
in which you were involved: a vacation, your first day in school, when you first learn to drive a car.
Kenneth Higbee suggests that there are myths about memory that you may have heard or may even believe
yourself. What are some of these Myths?
- Some people are stuck with bad memories (WRONG) There are some differences among people in innate memory, however, what really
gives you the edge over someone else is your learned memory skills. Virtually anyone can improve the ability to remember and recall.
- Some people have photographic memories (WRONG) Most research has found that people with truly exceptional memories often have this ability as a result of learned memory strategies, interest, and practice rather than innate ability.
- Remembering too much can clutter your mind (WRONG) The
storage capacity of your memory is unlimited. In fact, the more you learn about
a particular topic, the easier it is to learn even more.
- People us only about 10 percent of their brainpower
(No scientific research is available to measure accurately
how much of our brain we actually use. However, most psychologists and learning
specialists believe that we all have far more mental ability than we actually tap.
WAYS OR STRATEGIES TO AID MEMORY
Human has discovered ingenious ways to remember information.
Text the authors listed a number of methods for assisting you in remembering, some so obvious that
I don’ understand why they were even listed ((such as “pay
attention to what you are hearing”).
Other Strategies that does seem to Aid in Memory:
- Don’ rely on studying just once before an
exam (that’s cramming)
- Study in groups (group members can test each other and challenge each others interpretation of the material).
- Avoid pre-exam all-nighters (again this is cramming and the deprivation of sleep may be more detrimental to memory than not studying
- Say it over and over (probably the most time tested memory technique is reciting whatever you’re trying to remember
over and over out loud).
· Reduce stressor in your life (Although there’s
no way to determine how much worry or stress causes you to forget, most people will agree that stress can be a distraction).
Mnemonics = Unusual and somewhat artificial
strategies for remembering information. Mnemonics fall into four basic categories:
(a) Acronyms or new words created
from beginning letters of several words. The Great
Lakes can be more easily recalled by remembering
the word HOMES for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
(b) Acrostics An acrostic is a verse
in which certain letters of each word or line form a message. Many music students
were taught the scales by remembering “Every Good Boy Does Fine” – E,G,B, D, F.
(c) Rhymes that can be said or sung. Do you remember learning “thirty days hath September, April, June, and November? All the rest have thirty-one, except February alone.
It has twenty-eight days time, but in leap years it has twenty-nine”? You
were using a mnemonic rhyming technique to remember the days in each month.
(d) Visual methods you use visualization
to associate words or concepts or stories with visual images. The more ridiculous
the image, the more likely you are to remember it.
TECHNOLOGY - A HELP OR A HINDRANCE TO MEMORY?
PDA’S (personal digital assistant), a computer calendar, or a watch that beeps when you have
an appointment is just a few of the devices that can help you remember. But there
may be a danger to becoming too dependent on technology and losing trust in your memory.
(Use it or loose it concept)