Memory: How important it is to your studies?

Memory: How important it is to your studies?


Human brain has (1) Frontal lobe (2) Parietal Lobe (3) Occipital Lobe and (4) Temporal Lobe. The human memory system functions from these four lobes. The memory system can be broadly defined as:

  • Motor Memory
  • General Sensory Memory
  • Visual Memory
  • Auditory Memory
  • Taste and Smell Memory

The whole process is very complex.

  • Memory Processes
  • Memory Types
  • Useful Memory Techniques

Memory Processes:

Memory processes involves 3 main levels – the 3R’s – of information/data processing:

  1. Registration
  2. Retention
  3. Recall

For a good memory a student requires all the 3R’s in top functioning alert always. Registration requires your planned effort to register the matter that you have learnt. Registration is liable to be distracted from competing info or preoccupation with some other information.

Retention deals with the registered information being kept in store on a long-term basis for possible recall. It is possible only by regular use of stored info.

Recall process is the most important phase of memory. There are low level and high-level recall in the memory process. In low level you recognize the information very vaguely. In high level you recognize the info instantly and quite accurately.

Memory Types:

Broadly there are (1) Short term and (2) Long term memory. Here the process involved is recall for your memory strength is measured in how soon and how vividly you recall the registered and retained info.

In short term memory you register, retain and recall info for a short space of time. Short-term memory has limited capacity and therefore, can only recall very less info. Anything you want to do immediately, needs short term memory and recall. Any one-time info that you use once with no further use is short-term memory.

In long-term memory the info stored can be recalled for a long time. Long-term memory can handle a rather very large amount of information/data. What is in regular use such as your lectures, address, telephone number etc, can be on long-term memory storage.

Useful Memory Techniques:

If you understand the info correctly then registration and retention will be very good and this will facilitate easy and faster recall. On anything you show intense interest, you are likely to retain such info for a long time. The following are important for a good memory.

  • Attention: Pay undivided attention on the info you study
  • Repetition: This is very, very important. Every time you repeat info, which you have already stored, strengthens your memory.
  • Association: If your stored info is associated with the new input or vice-versa, the chances are your will remember it much better.

Important memory-retaining techniques are Mnemonic techniques:

  1. Link system
  2. Peg system
  3. Mental movie system

In link system: This is the basis of almost all mnemonic systems. Let us for example take it that you have a shopping list, say, (1) Tomato sauce (2) Bread (3) Wheat flour etc. What you have to do is to visualize the first item and link the other items through vivid imagery. You can imagine a big bottle of tomato sauce you pour on a piece of bread, which was placed on a plate above a contained labeled wheat flour.

In peg system you use a series of numbers and device a system of rhymes for each, which are associated with pictures or imagery. Example: one-run – imagine a horse is running in a race, two-zoo-imagine that you are in a zoo with a monkey, three-tree-imagine a big banyan tree, etc. If we rearrange the link system example mentioned above, we visualize a horse running with a tomato sauce bottle in the riders seat, a zoo where you walk with a monkey who has a piece of bread and finally a banyan tree on which people throw wheat flour. The rhymes can be extended to any numerals.

In Mental movie system you encode your info in the form of mental movies. Suppose you are a History student you can, for example, connect your historical essay in the form of a movie connecting the places, personalities and dates vividly with even visualized titles and sub-titles.

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