Relationship between learnign and memory Essay

This essay has a total of 1714 words and 8 pages.

relationship between learnign and memory

Relationship between Learning and Memory

Learning to tie shoes and ride a bike requires the encoding, storing, and retrieving of
past observations of the procedure. With a lot of practice, children master these skills
so well that they are able to remember them the rest of their lives. Memory is the storing
of information over time. It is one of the most important concepts in learning; if things
are not remembered, no learning can take place. As a process, memory refers to the
“dynamic mechanism associated with the retention and retrieval of information about
past experiences” (Sternberg 260). We use our memory about the past to help us
understand the present. The study or memory in psychology is used in different ways, as
well as there are many different ways to study how memory works in humans. In psychology
there are many tasks used to measure memory, and different types of memory storages that
human’s use, such as sensory storing, or short term storing. There are also a lot of
techniques that humans use to improve their memory, which they can use to learn, such as
mnemonic devices. All these things can be classified as important issues in the study of
human memory and ways of learning.

In studying memory, researchers have devised various tasks that require participants to
remember “arbitrary information” (Merkle). Memory tasks typically involve
either recall or recognition. In recall memory you would be asked to give a fact, a word,
or an item from memory. In recognition memory you are asked to identify from various
things the correct word, fact, or item. How then do humans remember these things? It
involves the human memory process, containing encoding, storing, and retrieving any
information being given to us.

Encoding is the process of placing information into memory. Storage is the process of
retaining information in memory. Getting information out of memory is called retrieval.
Out of the three, the most important is Encoding, because you must pay attention to the
information that you want to place into your memory. It is the starting point, although
there are three levels known within this beginning step.

Fergus Craik and Robert Lockhart proposed three levels for encoding incoming information.
“They suggested that whether we remember information for a few seconds or a lifetime
depends on how deeply we process the information” (Internet). The first level is
classified as Structural, because information is stored on visual codes. In other words,
what information “looks” like or what is its physical structure. An example of
that can be a picture of a friend at Disneyland, can help someone remember his or her
experience at Disneyland. The second level is classified as Phonemic, because information
“is stored as acoustic codes” (Sternberg 275). This is basically, remembering
information based on how it sounds, such as remembering your prom when you hear a song
that was played that night. Finally, the last level would be Semantic, because
information is stored based on semantic codes (i.e. what it means). This may be the most
complicated one, but most information “appears to be stored based on semantic
codes” (Conklin). This basically means that things are remembered based on the
meaning of the words. For example, a person can remember what the word “nib
licks” means by knowing its definition, or the meaning of it in simpler words (i.e.
gold iron with heavy head). Which of the three is the best way to remember things then?
That would be to use the combination of two of any of the three levels. If you can see an
image, and hear a sound that will remind you of it, then you are able to keep it in memory
for longer periods of time. Now that we know how to understand what we want to remember,
we need to know how we keep it stored in our minds.

Storing information is essential in Learning. To store information that can be used for
later use, such as tying ones shoelace, is very important for humans. Information being
stored can be stored in three different memory capacities we have: sensory memory,
short-term memory, or long-term memory. In sensory memory, the human holds “sensory
information for a brief period after the physical stimulus is no longer available”
(Internet). An example of this may be looking at slides of pictures. Someone looks at
different pictures for a short period of time, and so, the image stays stored in the
memory for only a short time. This means that people see more objects than they are able
to recall immediately after they see them all. In every day life, we use this when we meet
people, and try to remember their names, we hear their name for an instance, and unless we
use tactics to move this information to our short-term memory, we will only remember it
for an instance. This memory helps very little when trying to learn anything because it
will only be stored for a quick instance. On the other had short-term memory stays in a
person mind for a couple of seconds, and maybe even minutes, which can be useful to use in
the learning process.

Short-term memory is where “conscious thinking and processing of information take
place” (Shulman). We move sensory memory information to short memory information, by
continuously thinking about a specific thing, or by bringing importance, or meaning to the
information. Basically, whatever we are thinking about in a particular instance is in our
short-term memory. The key characteristic of short-term memory is that “unless the
information is important in meaningful way or is being actively rehearsed or repeated, it
quickly leaves short-term memory and is ‘forgotten’ when new information
displaces it as we begin to think about something else” (Sternberg 288), unlike
long-term memory. In long term-memory, you can contain substantial amounts of information,
for long periods of time, which is the most useful when learning.

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