Learning And Memory In Depth


Our memory works in a strange way. We see a familiar face, but we just can’t think of the person’s name. We have never been able to memorize long sequences of digits well. But I bet we all still remember the moment we found out about the 9/11 attacks or the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Why is our memory performance so variable? Learning and memory play a major role, especially during your studies! How can we be sure that important facts are saved permanently and can be remembered in exam situations?

The Relationship Between Learning And Memory

Our memory, or our long-term memory, is roughly divided into explicit and implicit memory. Implicit memory includes procedural memory. This is where we store skills and habits, such as riding a bike. Furthermore, priming, conditioning, and perceptual learning are also part of implicit memory. Perceptual means that we always recognize an apple as an apple, no matter what it looks like because we have stored its typical characteristics and not just a specific image of an apple. So, we have learned implicit memory contents mainly unconsciously, call them up almost automatically, and unlearn them only with difficulty.

The second memory system represents the explicit memory. Only conscious knowledge is stored here. Explicit memory is also divided into episodic and semantic memory. Our personal memories are stored in episodic memory, in other words, practically our autobiographies. Strongly emotional events and important future appointments and projects are also stored here. The special feature: We always remember these things with reference to space and time! Now we come to the last memory subsystem – the semantic memory. Your entire world knowledge and painstakingly learned school and exam knowledge are stored here. Explicit memory content is accessible to us but can sometimes be remembered more or less well.

Learning And Memory – A Variety Of Theories

Memory models are a dime a dozen. Ironically, remembering them all is almost impossible. A distinction is made between numerous processes and structures, although these cannot always be clearly distinguished. A model that has proven itself, again and again, is the “levels of processing model” by Craik and Lockhart. They postulate that memory is not an independent structure, but rather the result of information processing. The processing depth of information determines what we remember. Don’t worry if you forgive deadlines often, you can definitely work it out and in case you would need to cut corners and find a fast solution for creating an essay, an essay writing service online could always be of assistance to you.

Depth Of Processing – Deep, Deeper, Noted!

First, each piece of information is processed perceptually. This means that we recognize them through our sense organs. Suppose you read the word “prevalence” in your lecture notes. It is under the heading “Epidemiological Indicators”. As you read it, you have already processed the word graphemically and phonetically, and thus superficially. You have recognized the shapes of the individual sections, i.e., the letters. You put the letters together to form a word and pronounced the word in your head. In case you don’t know what prevalence means, now search the word meaning online. You come across several definitions and gradually understand what is meant by prevalence and how it fits into the system of your previous knowledge. You are now in the middle of the semantic processing of the word. After some time, you understood it profoundly. If you are now supposed to name an epidemiological key figure in the exam, you will certainly succeed very well.

Depth Of Processing Creates Elaboration

When we grapple with the meaning of a word, we elaborate on it. That is, we not only recognize the obvious but learn a new concept and insert it into the network of already existing knowledge. We have reached a certain depth of processing. Learning and memory are by no means to be equated. Only what has meaning for you comes into explicit memory. The better you understand a concept, the deeper you have processed it. The greater the processing depth, the more successfully you can retrieve your knowledge later.

What Does This Mean For Learning?

Make use of the processing depth! Do not try to stupidly memorize the facts, but understand what they mean and relate them to other facts. The more precisely you have elaborated on them, the better you can memorize them.

The following elaboration strategies use the principle of processing depth:

1. Rephrase and restructure!

Organize the facts for your understanding and put them in your own words! For example, through index cards and notes.

2. Give importance!

Inconsequential lists become meaningful when you use the loci method!

3. Illustrate and make visible!

When you come up with an image or symbol for a concept, you have to encode and elaborate visually.

4. Make connections!

Also make connections visible, for example by using similar colors or a mind map.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.