Academic journal article Education

Mnemonic Strategies: Creating Schemata for Learning Enhancement

Academic journal article Education

Mnemonic Strategies: Creating Schemata for Learning Enhancement

Article excerpt

"Mnemonic Strategies: Creating Schemata for Learning Enhancement" investigates the process of remembering and presents techniques to improve memory retention. Examples of association, clustering, imagery, location, mnemonic devices and visualization illustrate strategies that can be used to encode and recall information from the long-term memory. Several memory games offer the opportunity to test your skills as you explore the strategies.


"Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November ..." and "Spring forward, Fall back" are but two of the many mnemonic devices people use to recall bits of information.

Try this little quiz, and see how many you remember as you match the number with its correct letter.

--1. EGBDF

--2. HOMES


--4. ROY G. BIV

--5. Please Come Over, Sally Dear, My Perky Pal. Try Juicy Carrots, Then Quit.

--6. Cleveland Browns IN The Hall Of Fame

--7. Let Everyone Just See A Flying Rhino

--8. My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nice Pickles

--9. From Main you Spring to Broadway and climb the Hill to Olive

--10. Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

A. The Great Lakes (Geography)

B. Coordinating conjunctions (English composition)

C. The lines of a music staff (Music)

D. Colors of the rainbow (Physics)

E. Articles of the United States (Government)

F. Periods of the Earth Precambrian to the current Quarternary Era (Geology)

G. Elements that are always binary (Chemistry

H. Street order in downtown Los Angeles (Geography)

I. Order of the planets to the sun (Astronomy)

J. Order of calculations (Algebra)

Did you get all of them? If not, don't fret--the answers can be found in end note, (1) and the memories can be found stored in the hippocampus, part of the temporal lobes that protrude on either side of your brain just below your temples. The discovery of where memories live in the brain was made by Wilder Penfield, a Canadian surgeon, in the 1930's. (2)

The process of remembering is one of encoding. But, what happens when we don't encode? Well, let's try the Nickerson and Adams' 1979 penny experiment, and see if you can draw the eight characteristics of a penny in the circles below.


If you're like most people, you never took the time to encode the penny's eight characteristics. So, you can either take a penny out of your pocket, or look at end note (3) for the answers.

The short term memory lasts less than a half second, and if the orienting stimuli does not receive attention/recognition, it is instantly forgotten. Attention-grabbing visual devices like writing words in different colors, placing them in unusual patterns, and using bold face, italics, highlighting and underlining or verbal techniques like saying a person's name, yelling "Stop!" or the varying of volume, pitch or rate of speech can arouse interest and curiosity. (4)

If the orienting stimuli--let's say a question--requires a response, the working memory retrieves and processes information from the long term memory. The response is made and then forgotten unless~ZAP~through an encoding process called rehearsal, the information is transferred from the working memory to the long term memory where it is stored. Psychologists identify two types of rehearsal--rote or repetition which holds information in the memory for an immediate purpose and elaborative encoding which relates new information to that already in the long term memory.

Information that is emotionally charged is usually remembered. Incidents like the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, and the terrorists' attacks of 9/11/2001 are examples of tragic memories that are stored in America's long term memory. …

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