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Improved Memory Function - Essay Example

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Improved Memory Function

Thus, memorization is seen as a method of learning that allows one to recall information verbatim. From among the known brain functions, this paper chooses to discuss memory and how it can be improved through the reading of newspapers. Unlike the other sources of news and information that are used at intervals, newspaper reading is a daily activity and thus expected to work better in enhancing memory, which some psychologists say can be done through frequent repetition (Anderson, 1976).
Three distinct types of memory are set in the psychology literature: sensory, short-term and long-term memory. Memory is considered sensory when people see more than they can actually report (Baddeley, 2000), suggesting that information is received through the senses and emotions rather than through the brain. Consequently, it involves a memory span of only a few hundred milliseconds and a capacity of only about 12 items (Anderson, 1976). As such, this type of memory degrades quickly. There is a similar limitation in capacity for short-term memory although the duration extends up to a minute. As for long-term memory, it can store much larger quantities of information for prolonged periods of time, sometimes even for a whole life span. This type of memory can either be declarative or procedural, which differ in the way the mind processes information. It is declarative when, like sensory memory, information is received based on sensations, emotions and personal associations regarding time or place, while it is procedural when memory functions well because of repetition (Snowden, 2001).

Whatever the types of memory people are prone to, many studies show that memory functions can be improved through rehearsal and repetition. This means that people with sensory and short-term memory can store information for long-term purposes if they receive it repeatedly and they are forced to retrieve the information for daily use (Baddeley, 2000). Not all psychologists share this view, however, with some saying that it is not rehearsal and repetition that influence how information is stored in memory but the method and depth of processing. According to Anderson (1976), the better method is to exert more effort and elaboration in the processing of information. With more effort, people will recall difficult words better while elaborating the main idea through longer sentences and paragraphs will make recall higher. When people with poor memory need assistance, they can be trained to make their memory keen by going through such exercises as paired associate learning, free recall and recognition. In paired associate learning, one is taught to associate one specific word with another, such as relating the word "safe" to "fire," which invokes the principle of stimulus and response. In free recall, the subject is given a list of words and then asked to recall or write down as many words as he can remember from the list. The same process is used in recognition although expanded to include pictures. The subject is asked to study a list of words and pictures and then asked to identify them from among a jumble of other words and pictures.


Reading Newspapers


Reading the newspaper is a daily challenge to someone with poor memory because of the plethora of information that competes for his ...Show more

Summary

Psychologists believe that learning comes from a well functioning memory, which is defined as the ability to store, retain and retrieve information with ease. If a person can encode, store and recall information as needed, it follows that he is learned and intelligent…
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