Memory Improvement Techniques

  • Created by: MRH__98
  • Created on: 19-04-15 16:25

The Method of Loci

The Method of Loci is useful for remembering lists of words or objects. The items to be remembered are associated with locations (loci) in a well-known place.

1) Example: the shopping list contains milkchocolateapplesbananas and bread.

2) You'd take a mental tour around your house, visually placing each object at a specific place.

3) You could place the bottle of milk at your front door, put the chocolate on a table in the hall, put the apples on the sofa in the living room, put the bananas in the kitchen sink and, finally, put the bread on the stairs.

4) When you get to the supermarket, all you'd need to do is mentally repeat the tour around your house, rembering which items were placed where.

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The Peg-Word Technique

Another technique that uses imagery to remember a set of objects or words. Using the shopping list example again - milk, chocolate, apples, bananas and bread.

1) First of all, you use a set of peg-words which are already stored in memory.

2) So, for this list of five objects, you'd need five peg-words:

One is a bunTwo is a shoeThree is a tree, Four is a doorFive is a hive.

3) Then, each item on the shopping list is linked to a number. So, you could imagine a bar of chocolate inside a bun, bananas poking out of a shoe, apples hanging on a tree, and so on...

4) In the supermarket, you'd just need to remember each peg-word and picture the item it is associated with.

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The First Letter Mnemonic

This is where the first letter of each word is used to create a new sentence.

For example:

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

This can be turned into:

MVolkswagen Eats Mouldy Jam Sandwiches Until Noon.

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Mnemonic Verses

Mnemonic Verses help to remember information by encoding it acoustically.

For example:

Thirty days has September,

April, June and Novermber,

All the rest have thirty-one,

Except February alone,

Which has twenty-eight days clear,

And twenty-nine each leap year.

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Narrative Stories

This method involves linking together all the items that need remembering. This is done by putting them into a story. For example, if the words to be learnt are bicycleduck, ice creamtree and house:

Bob got onto his bicycle and rode down to the duck pond at the park. He bought an ice cream and sat under a tree to eat it. After a while, he cycled back to his house.

Bower and Clark (1969) studied narrative stories

Method: Used an independent groups design, splitting participants into two conditions. Each group was given 12 lists, each containing 10 words. In one condition, participants were advised to use narrative stories. The second group was a control group who were simply asked to learn the words.

Results: Both groups recalled the lists immediately after learning each one. When it came to recalling all 12 lists at the end of the session, recall was much better in the narrative story group.

Conclusion: Creating narrative stories aids recall from long-term memory.


Links to the multi-store model.

Used a control condition, meaning the effect of the independent variable could be measured.

Lacks ecological validity.

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