PSYCHOLOGY: Chapter 10 - Memory and Thought Lecture Notes

                 * Bold print denotes an item not in the text.





10-1: Taking in and Storing Information


"Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things."

        - Cicero (Roman orator)


 Alzheimer's Disease: currently an irreversible, incurable condition that destroys a person’s ability to think,

                         remember, relate to others, and care for herself or himself.


Memory: the storage and retrieval of what has been learned or experienced.


Information: any event that reduces uncertainty.


3 processes of memory:

            1.) Encoding

            2.) Storage

            3.) Retrieval.


            - Encoding: the transforming of information so the nervous system can process it.


                        * role of the senses: You use your senses - hearing, sight, touch, taste, temperature, and others to encode and

                                                        establish a memory.


                        * Selective attention: your ability to pick and choose among various inputs.


                        + Selective attention does not completely block out other programs or stimuli.


                        * Feature Extraction: The identification and analysis of specific elements of a sensory input.


                        ^ 2 benefits

                                        1.) Helps you identify it

                                        2.) Helps compare it to other inputs


                        ^ 2 points on Feature Extraction:

                                * Depends to some degree on knowing what to look for.

                                * It is an evaluative process.


                        * acoustic codes: are being used when you try to remember something by saying it out loud, or to

                                                   yourself, repeatedly.


                        * visual codes: are being used when you attempt to keep a mental picture of the letters, you trying to



                        * semantic codes: are being used when you try to remember the letters by making sense of them.


                        * when encoding takes place: Encoding occurs when the senses receive a stimulus and convert the

                                                sensation into neural impulses. It occurs to enter information from

                                                short-term memory into long-term memory.


            - Storage: the process by which information is maintained over a period of time.


                        * amount: How much information is stored depends on how much effort was put into encoding the information

                                        and its importance.


                        * 3 levels of information prioritization:

                1.) Basic needs, (hunger, sleep, and thirst)

                2.) Strangeness or novelty

                3.) Interest


            - Retrieval: the process of obtaining information that has been stored in memory.


                        * basis for ease of retrieval: It depends on how efficiently it was encoded and stored (as well as on other

                                                                    factors, such as genetic background).


3 types of memory

            1.) sensory memory

            2.) short-term memory

            3.) long-term memory


            - sensory memory: very brief memory storage immediately following initial stimulation of a receptor.


                        * duration: a fraction of a second


                        * Major point: An input in sensory storage has not been narrowed down or analyzed.  It is a

                                short-lived but highly detailed photograph or audio recording - that rapidly fades.


                        There was an example of the uses of sensory storage performed in the 1950's using subliminal advertising.


                        * subliminal advertising: the attempt to influence people with messages that are below normal

                                           thresholds of detection.


        ^ Movie theater example:  "commercials" inserted in every so many frames of film.  It

                                      greatly influenced the audience to purchase concession items.


                        * George Sperling, (1960):  used a tachistoscope to present a group of letters and numbers for a 20th of a

                                                                  second.  Previous studies showed that people had been able to remember 4 or 5 items. 


                                                                 Sperling believed that people took a mental picture before the memory faded. 

                                                                 Psychologists refer to  this visual sensory memory as iconic memory.  


                         He changed the experiment to add tones to the flash of the slide.   A high tone was used

                         for those on the top row, medium tone for those on the middle row and a low tone for

                         those on the bottom row.  Once people learned the system, they could remember 75% of

                         the items. 


                                                                  He proved that the participant retains a brief image of the whole picture so that he or she can

                                                                  still read off the items in the correct row after the picture has left the screen.  Psychologists

                                                                  refer to auditory sensory memory as echoic memory.


                                                                                    ^ tachistoscope: a quick slide projector


                        * iconic memory: hold visual information for up to a second.


                        * echoic memory: a type of sensory memory that holds auditory information for 1 or 2 seconds.


                        * haptic memory: a type of sensory memory that holds tactile (touch) information for a few seconds.


                * gustic memory: a type of sensory memory that holds taste information for a few seconds.


                * olfactic memory: a type of sensory memory that holds smell information for a few seconds.


                        * 3 purposes sensory memory serves:

                                    1.) Sensory memory prevents you from being overwhelmed.

                                                  Since the information in sensory memory is short-lived, anything that you do not pay attention to

                                                  vanishes in seconds.


                                    2.) Sensory memory gives you some decision time. 

                                                 The information in sensory memory is there for only a few seconds—just long enough for you to decide

                                                 whether it is worth paying attention to this nformation.


                                    3.) Sensory memory allows for continuity and stability in your world.


Difference between short-term memory and sensory storage:  The information held momentarily by the senses has not yet been narrowed down or analyzed.

                                                                                              It is short-lived, temporary, and fragile.  However, by the time information gets to short-term  

                                                                                              memory, it has been analyzed, identified, and simplified so that it can be

                                                                                              conveniently stored and handled for a longer time.


Short-term memory: memory that is limited in capacity to about seven items and in duration by the subject’s active rehearsal.


            - 2 methods to improve STM: Rehearsal and chunking


            - Maintenance rehearsal: a system for remembering that involves repeating information to oneself without attempting to find

                                                  meaning in it.


                        * use: By using maintenance rehearsal, you can keep the information longer in short-term memory. 


                                     Without rehearsal, new information stays in short-term memory for less than 30 seconds.


            - How psychologists measure short-term memory: by seeing how long a participant can retain a piece of information without rehearsal.


                        * CPQ/798 experiment: The experimenter shows the participant three letters, such as CPQ, followed by three numerals, such as 798,

                                                            one second later. To prevent rehearsal, the participant has been instructed to start counting backward by threes

                                                            and reporting the result in time with a metronome striking once per second. 


                                                                            ^ metronome: An instrument designed to mark exact time by a regularly repeated tick.


                                                           If the participant performs this task for only a short time, she or he will usually remember the letters. If

                                                           kept from rehearsing for 18 seconds, however, recall will be no better than a random guess; the information

                                                           is forgotten.


                                                           Conclusion:  Short-term memory lasts a bit less than 20 seconds without rehearsal.


- chunking: the process of grouping items to make them easier to remember.


                        * The most common example: a phone number.


                * Acronyms: initials that represent words and can be easily remembered.


^ Examples:

FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation

                                CIA - Central Intelligence Agency

                                MADD:  Mothers Against Drunk Driving


                        * George Miller, (1966): found that the limit of short-term memory is seven items (plus or minus two items).  Each item may consist of

                                                              a collection of many other items, but if they are all packaged into one "chunk" then there is still only one

                                                              item as far as the memory is concerned.


- 13 points on STM:

            1.) The things you have in your conscious mind at any one moments are being held in short-term memory.

            2.) Short-term memory does not necessarily involve paying close attention.

            3.) To keep information in short-term memory for more than a few seconds, you usually have to repeat the information to yourself or out loud.

            4.) Short-term memory is limited in capacity to only about seven unrelated items.

            5.) We may not notice this limited capacity because we usually do not have to store so many unrelated items in our immediate memory.

                 Either the items are related (as when we listen to someone speak), or they are rehearsed and placed in long-term memory.

            6.) Each chunked item may consist of a collection of many other items but since they are all packaged into one chunk, the brain views it as 

                 only one item.

            7.) Even with chunking, storage in short-term memory is only temporary.

            8.) Information is available, generally, for less than 20 seconds and no more than 30 seconds, assuming no rehearsal has occurred.

            9.) Short-term memory contains information that is of possible interest.

            10.) Information worth holding on to must be rehearsed with the intent to learn in order to transfer it to long-term memory.                                 

            11.) Rehearsal without intent to learn yields no transfer.



Primacy-recency effect: refers to the fact that we are better able to recall information presented at the beginning and end of a list.


            - primary effect: means you may be able to remember the first few items in a list because you had more time to rehearse them.


            - recency effect: means you may be able to recall the last four or five items in a list because they were still accessible in short-term memory.


Working memory: serves as a system for processing and working with current information. 


            - what it includes: It includes both short-term memory (events that just occurred) and information stored in long-term memory, now recalled for

                                        current information.


Long-term memory: refers to the storage of information over extended periods of time. 


            - 6 points:

                        1.) You reconstruct what you must recall when you need it.

                        2.) LTM's capacity appears to be limitless.

                        3.) LTM contains representations of countless facts, experiences, and sensations.

                        4.) Long-term memory involves all the processes of memory.

                        5.) The least important information is dropped and only the essentials are retained.

                        6.) More recently stored items block access to earlier memories or may even replace them.


            - Flash bulb memory phenomenon: is centered on a specific, important, traumatic or surprising event.  The memory is so vivid that it

                                              represents a mental snapshot.


                * Examples: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, death of Princess Diana, or 9/11.


Endel Tulving, (1972): Canadian psychologist who proposed that there are two types of long term memory - semantic and episodic.


            1.) Semantic memory: our knowledge of language, its rules, words, and meanings.


                        2.) Episodic memory: our life's experiences/memories. Stored here are things where time of occurrence is important.  Everyone’s

                                                        episodic memory is unique.



Squire (1987): proposed another model of memory.


- Declarative (explicit) memory: both semantic and episodic memory. The knowledge you call forth consciously and use when needed.


- Procedural (implicit) memory: does not require conscious recollection to have past learning or experiences impact our performance.


            * 5 types

                1.) Skills: easy and complex activities.  As we gain a skill, we gradually lose the ability to describe what we are doing.

                                             Examples:  tying shoes or driving a car.


                    2.) Priming: filling in the blanks like when playing Hangman.

                        3.) Fears

                        4.) Habits

                        5.) Things learned through classical conditioning.


Prosopagnosia:  peculiar condition in which the patient is unable to recognize familiar faces- even his or her own.  They can still perceive other aspects of

                        faces, like if someone is happy or sad.  This condition demonstrates how remarkably narrow or selective memory problems

                        can sometimes be.


            - usual cause: stroke or head injury


Neuropsychologists:  Scientists who study the basic physical processes of the brain, and focus on those processes controlled by the nervous system.  They are particularly interested in understanding the neurological basis of human behavior.  They often work in hospitals and universities, and some work for pharmaceutical companies where they assess and develop new drugs for psychological care and treatment.

            *** This is one of the fastest growing specialties in psychology today.


2 theories on how the brain stores long-term memory:

            1.) When memory is stored there is a change in the neuronal  structure of nerves. (a change in the synapse -the gap between neurons)

            2.) Learning is based on molecular or chemical changes in the brain. (increased protein production)


5 parts of the brain involved with memory:

            1.) Cerebral cortex

            2.) Thalamus

            3.) Amygdala

            4.) Hippocampus

            5.) Striatum


                        - Cortex with LTM: Our ability to remember words, facts, and events (declarative memory) from the past depends on activity in the



                        - Cortex with STM: Our ability to remember words, facts, and events (declarative memory) in short-term memory depends on activity

                                                       in the cortex.


                        - Thalamus: Our ability to process sensory information, crucial to creating memories, depends on the thalamus.


                        - Amygdala: Our ability to associate memories with emotions (emotional associations) depends, to a large

                                           degree, on the amygdala.


                        - Hippocampus: Our ability to transfer words, facts, and events (declarative memory) from short-term into long-term memory depends on

                                                activity in the hippocampus.


                        - Striatum: area where there is evidence that the formation of procedural memories occurs.


Neurons: individual nerve cells


4 ideas on how connections between neurons are formed:  It is clear that a very complex chemical process precedes the formation of new connections

                                                                                         between neurons.


                        1.) increased calcium

                        2.) decreased potassium flow.

                        3.) increased protein synthesis

                        4.) heightened levels of glucose



CASE STUDY… pg 281

HM: a man who underwent major surgery in an effort to cease or minimize the occurrence of epileptic seizures.


            - date: 1953


            - problem: seizure activity


Introduction to epilepsy: Since the brain uses electrochemical energy, any disruption of the electrical processes in the brain will cause

                            abnormal functioning.


The seizure starts in one area of the brain and spreads across (the corpus callasoum) the brain. These seizures produce muscle twitches, convulsions and loss of consciousness.


This is what happens during an epileptic seizure - neurons in the cerebral hemispheres misfire and create abnormal electrical activity. People with epilepsy have seizures that happen repeatedly. It is a bit like an electrical brainstorm.


        - Seizures prevent the brain from:

                1.) Interpreting and processing incoming sensory signals (like visual, somatosensory and auditory information).

                2.) Controlling muscles. That is why people with epilepsy may fall down and twitch.


            - solution: removal of the hippocampus.


            - outcome: The surgery proved quite effective in decreasing the frequency and severity of the seizures. As time passed, doctors detected an

                             unforeseen and devastating result of the surgery—H.M. had lost the ability to store new long-term memories. Although he

                             could remember events that occurred before the operation, H.M. could no longer retain information about events occurring after the surgery.


Hypothesis: The hippocampus is involved in memory.


            - theory on the role of the hippocampus: proposed that the transfer of short-term memory into long-term memory was fixed in the hippocampus region.


            H.M.’s memories before the operation remained mostly intact,    but after the operation, there was no hippocampus region to which to transfer new

                memories— new information had nowhere to go and so could not be recalled at a later time.


Method: Doctors tested H.M. by presenting him with information, distracting him momentarily, and then asking him to recall

             the information first discussed.


            H.M. was unable to:

                        1.) learn sequences of digits beyond the usual short-term memory span of seven digits.

                        2.) recognize the photographs of people shown and described to him just a short time earlier.


            H.M. was able to learn difficult motor skills such as solving puzzles.


Results: H.M.’s problem was a disruption in transferring short-term memory to long-term memory. This indicated that the hippocampus region is not involved

            with storing long-term memory, because recollection of pre-surgery events was intact. 


            Thus, the hippocampus region of the brain may be the component involved in this memory transferring process but definitely is a pathway through

            which this information travels.




10-2: Retrieving Information


Stored information: is useless unless it can be retrieved from memory


Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon: when you try to remember something but cannot quite do so.  Later, in a different situation, the information you were

                                                looking for earlier comes to you.


Problem of memory: is to store many thousands of items in such a way that you can find the one you need when you need it.


Importance of organization: The solution to retrieval is organization.  Because human memory is extraordinarily efficient, it must be

                                            extremely well organized.


2 types of retrieval: recognition and recall


            - recognition:  memory retrieval in which a person identifies an object, idea, or situation as one he or she has or has not experienced before.

                        * examples: name of your first-grade teacher, a multiple choice test, songs on the radio, sound of a particular musical or a person’s features.


                        * easiest type of retrieval: Recognition is the easiest type of memory retrieval.


            - recall: memory retrieval in which a person actively reconstructs previously learned material.


                        * 3 areas of involvement: our knowledge, attitudes, and expectations.


                        * remembering as an active process: Remembering is an active process guided by our experience, knowledge, and cues we receive from the    



            - reconstructive processes: the alteration of a recalled memory that may be simplified, enriched, or distorted, depending on an

                                                   individual’s experiences, attitudes, or inferences.


            - confabulation: the act of filling in memory with statements that make sense but that are, in fact, untrue.


            - schemas: conceptual frameworks a person uses to make sense of the world.  They are sets of expectations about something that is based on our

                             past experiences.


                        * Loftus and Palmer, (1974): conducted a classic study on the roles that schemas play in memory reconstruction. 

                                                                    (The two-car accident and use of loaded words.)


                                    ^ conclusion: the schemas people used - whether the cars were "contacted", "hit", "bumped", or "smashed" affected the way they

                                                        reconstructed the crash.


                                    ^ Loaded words: terms or phrases packed with emotional and/or double meanings.


            - eidetic memory: the ability to remember with great accuracy visual information on the basis of short-term exposure.  Also called photographic memory. 


                        *** A person with eidetic memory does not have to use recall or recognition.


                        * % of children who have it: About 5%


                        * in adults: extremely rare


                    * in talented individuals:  It is said that many famous artists and composers possibly had eidetic memory.


                                + 5 examples:

                                        1.) Claude Monet (painter)

                                        2.) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (musician)

                                        3.) John von Neumann (mathematician)

                                        4.) Stu Ungar (world's most successful poker player)

                                        5.) Bobby Fischer (chess genius)


Mnemonist: someone with an incredibly accurate memory.


Five factors that affect retrieval:

        1.) meaningfulness

2.) association

3.) lack of interference

4.) degree of original learning

5.) use of mnemonic devices


Autobiographical memory: People tend to forget more quickly information that does not correspond with their own images of themselves. 

                             As a person’s self-image changes, so does the information he or she recalls about the past.


State-dependent memory: occurs when you recall information easily when you are in the same physiological or emotional state or setting as you were when

                                        you originally encoded the information.


Gordon Bower: THE authority on state-dependent memory.  He has done more research on memory than any other psychologist has.  His explanation

                for this mood-dependent recall is that the mood (emotional state) serves as a cue for retrieving information.  When a memory is

                stored, it is associated with a specific emotion as well as with specific actions or people.  The emotional state later functions as a

                marker in our memory of the specific event.  When we are in the same mood, we are more likely to be able to find things the

                memory has thus marked.


        - Sirhan Sirhan:  In 1981, Bower interviewed and hypnotized Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968.  Fully

                           conscious Sirhan denied having any knowledge of the murder, but when hypnotized, and placed in the same emotional

                           state as on the assassination date, he could remember vivid details of the crime.


        - Using state-dependent memory: You can use the concept of state-dependent memory to help you maximize your recall of material. 

                                             Make sure you study in the same emotional state as you will be in when you take the test. 


Relearning: is a measure of both declarative and procedural memory.  (This explains why things are easier the second time around.)




Elizabeth Loftus: One of the foremost researchers on major problems with eyewitness testimony.  Her work is regarded as the authority on the subject.


            - 4 points:

                        1.) Memory is extremely fragile and not always accurate.

                        2.) Eyewitness testimony is often unreliable.

                        3.) False memories can be triggered merely by suggestion.                    

                        4.) The manner in which a person builds memories can be altered by information acquired after the original experience.


            - Reason her work is controversial:  Her work is controversial because it raises doubts about the validity of repressed memories of repeated

                                                                  trauma, such as that of childhood abuse.


MORE ABOUT… pg 284


Eyewitness testimony:  The most common way of convicting criminals...also the most mistaken, unreliable of all evidence.


            - Loftus, (1974): showed that even after it had been proven that the eyesight of a witness was too poor for her to have seen a robber’s face

                                      from where she stood at the scene of a robbery, the jury was still swayed by her testimony.


            - misinformation effect: is a memory bias that occurs when misinformation affects people's reports of their own memory.


        - Problems with eyewitness testimony:

                1.) A person’s memory of an event can be distorted in the process of remembering it.

                2.) Shocking events, such as those involving violence, can disrupt our ability to form a strong memory.    

                3.) Without a strong, clear memory of the event, the eyewitness is more likely to incorporate after-the-

                    fact information into the recall.

                4.) Decay

                5.) Interference

                6.) Repression

                7.) State-dependent memory

                8.) Confabulation

                9.) Dishonesty

                10.) Most people aren't very observant

                11.) Misinformation effect


Eyewitness Testimony Handout


Forgetting:  when information that once entered long-term memory is unable to be retrieved.


            - 3 types:

                        1.) Decay

                        2.) Interference

                        3.) Repression


            - William James Quote:  "Forgetting is as important as recollecting. . . . If we remembered every thing, we should be as ill off as if we

                                 remembered nothing. It would take as long for us to recall a space of time as it took the original time to elapse and

                                we should never get ahead with our thinking."


                        * Meaning: Both memory and forgetting are necessary functions win the human brain.


Decay: fading away of memory over time.


            - 6 points:

                        1.) Items quickly decay in sensory storage and short-term memory.

                        2.) Long-term memories may never decay.

                        3.) A blow to the head or electrical stimulation of certain parts of the brain can cause loss of memory.

                        4.) The memories lost are the most recent ones - older memories seem to remain.

                        5.) The fact that apparently forgotten information can be recovered through meditation, hypnosis, or brain stimulation suggests that at least

                             some memories never decay.

                        6.) Interference or repression causes people to lose track of memories.


3 ways to retrieve "lost" memories: through meditation, hypnosis, or brain stimulation.


Interference: blockage of a memory by previous or subsequent memories.


            - 2 types: proactive and retroactive


                        * proactive interference: occurs when an earlier memory blocks you from remembering related new information. (when a earlier memory

                                                              does the blocking)


                        * retroactive interference: occurs when a later memory or new information blocks you from remembering information learned earlier.  

                                                                 (when a later memory does the blocking)


                        * as separate concepts:  Proactive interference does not lead to retroactive interference; the two are separate concepts.


            - permanency: It may be that interference actually does erase some memories permanently. In other cases the old data may not be lost. The information

                                  is probably in your memory… somewhere. 


Sigmund Freud: Psychologist who pioneered the study of the unconscious mind.


            - repression: occurs when a person may subconsciously block memories of an embarrassing or frightening experience. The material still exists

                                in the person’s memory, but it has been made inaccessible because it is so disturbing.


                        * Freud's Quote: "Sometimes blocking is no accident."


False Memory Syndrome (Repressed Memory): is the term for the hypothesis describing a state of mind wherein sufferers have a high number of

                                                 highly vivid but false memories, often of abusive events during their childhood.


                                                 This condition has been studied, and some sufferers have confessed to “entirely made up stories.”

                                                 However, the DSM-IV does not recognize FMS, although the forgetting of traumatic events

                                                 constitutes several of the manual's diagnostic criteria for PTSD.


                        - DSM-IV: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the

                                                        standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.  The DSM consists

                                                        of three major components: the diagnostic classification, the diagnostic criteria sets, and the descriptive text.


                        - Post-traumatic stress disorder: a disorder in which victims of catastrophes or other traumatic events experience the

                                                            original event in the form of dreams or flashbacks


                        - Debate: The debate over FMS centers largely around the topic of child abuse, wherein alleged victims are said to experience

                                    dissociation, which causes repression of the traumatic memory until later in life, when the memory resurfaces either

                                    naturally or with the aid of a professional. Many advocates of FMS argue against both methods of memory

                                    recovery, claiming that such professionals as therapists and psychiatrists accidentally implant false memories.


Amnesia: is a loss of memory.


            - 4 causes:

                        1.) a blow to the head

                        2.) brain damage

                        3.) as the result of drug use

                        4.) severe psychological stress


Infant Amnesia: is the relative lack of early declarative memories prior to age two or three years old.


            - 4 theories:

                        1.) Freud thought that infant memories are repressed because of the emotional traumas of infancy.

                        2.) Because infants do not yet understand language, their memories are nonverbal, whereas later memories are verbal (once language is learned).

                        3.) That the hippocampus may not be mature enough in infancy to spark memories.

                        4.) Infants have not yet developed a sense of self to experience memories.


2 bases for improving memory: efficient organization and chunking.


Maintenance rehearsal: a system for remembering that involves repeating information to oneself.


            - problem with:  Words are merely repeated with no attempt to find meaning.


Elaborate rehearsal: the linking of new information to material that is already known.


            - 6 points:

                        1.) The more meaningful something is, the easier it will be to remember.

                        2.) You remember things more vividly if you associate them with things already stored in memory or with a strong emotional experience.

                        3.) The more categories a memory is indexed under, the more accessible it is.

                        4.) If an input is analyzed and indexed under many categories, each association can serve as a trigger for the memory.

                        5.) If you associate the new information with strong sensory experiences and a variety of other memories, any of these stimuli can trigger

                             the memory.

                        6.) The more senses and experiences you use when trying to memorize something, the more likely it is that you will be able to retrieve it - a key

                             to improving memory.


                                    * #1 memory trigger: smell


4 ways to prevent interference:

            1.) Overlearn the material - to keep on rehearsing it even after you think you know it well.

            2.) Avoid studying similar material together.

            3.) Distributed practice: spacing out your learning; studying a little at a time.


            ** Trying to absorb large amounts of information at one sitting results in a great deal of interference.


            4.) Degree of original learning - The way you originally learn or remember something influences how readily you recall that information later.


Mnemonic devices: techniques for using associations to memorize and retrieve information.


- 6 types of mnemonic devices:

            * Method of Loci: A form of memorization used by the ancient Greeks in which they would learn things in a certain location, then

                             associating the material with that certain spot.


* Acronyms (the easiest to create)

* Rhymes (fun to remember)

* Make a Story (can take serious time to create)

* Phrases (kind of like acronyms, but longer)

* Mental pictures (like graphic organizers. These work really well for "visual" people)


Mnemonic devices are not magical.  Indeed, they involve extra work—making up words, stories, and so on. The very effort of trying to do this, however,

may help you remember things.


8 Memory Tips for Students Handout


 Sort Information: Help your retrieval system by putting new information into categories. You can group by dates, people, formulas, etc. It may help to make a chart as you study.


 Frequent review: Studying new information the same day you heard or read it will improve memory significantly. A small review each day is essential if you have memory problems.


 Use humor or exaggeration: Information stays in memory longer if it is related to something novel and interesting. Make up something funny or exaggerated that ties into what needs to be memorized.

 Explore the senses: Try learning the information visually, verbally, and kinesthetically and find which sense works best for you. Some people need to combine two or more senses.

 Color code: By using colored pens, highlighters, post-it notes and flags, index cards, etc. you can make an impression on your memory.

This is a way of sorting information for storage as you assign colors.


 Make visual aids: Draw pictures or cartoon characters, graphs, tables, charts, time lines, etc. to aid memory. Even simple stick figures and drawings are useful if you are a visual learner. Pay attention to pictures, charts, etc. in textbooks.

 Rehearse aloud: Verbal rehearsal is an effective memory tool. Study with someone or use a tape recorder to say what needs to be memorized aloud.

 Make it physical: Adding a physical activity such as pacing, jumping, throwing a ball, or writing enhances the memory for many people. Typing or rewriting notes is a very effective memory device for people who need to learn kinesthetically.