You are on page 1of 22



Learning Assistance Center
120 University Pavilion
¢n a basic level, memory is a mental activity
for recalling information that has been
learned or experienced. This involves
receiving, retaining, and retrieving data and
resembles the processes of computers.
Since humans are not computers and do not
assemble information in the same way, we
must use different ways of remembering
information. ¢ne might think of the process
as the 3 Rƍs of memory:
ÿ Registration
ÿ Retention
ÿ Retrieval
The brain registers messages from
the world through our eyes, ears,
and touch sensors. This ƌstimuliƍ is
held for a fraction of a second in
the part of the brain that
processes sensory memory.
Unless you pay attention to the
image/data for approximately
eight uninterrupted seconds to
encode it in short-term memory, it
will be lost. The slightest
interference at this stage will
remove the newly accessed
information from our
consciousness. This might be the
reason your teachers are always
telling you ƏPay Attention!Ɛ
Short-Term Memory (STM) is the brainƍs ability
to remember information this is actively ƏIn
Use.Ɛ It is similar to the ƌworking memoryƍ on a
computer. STM allows you to perform activities
as calling a phone number youƍve just looked
up. However, like computers STM doesnƍt
reliably hold on to information, and there is no
mental ƏsaveƐ button to push while working.
Like a computer, you
have a limited capacity for storing information
in STM Ɗ approximately seven items for about
two minutes. If STM tries to acquire more items
it can handle, the middle items will often be
displaced. This is why
post it notes, or writing pads are useful in
writing down short lists, i.e. shopping lists or to
do lists.
¢nce items are Registered
and Retained in STM they
move into Long-Term
Memory Ɗ like putting
information onto a hard drive
on you computer. Long-Term
Memory (LTM) has a limitless
capacity to retain information
for an extended amount of
time. This is why you can
remember information from a
previous class easily if youƍve
learned it and stored the
information in LTM.
ÿ *inding information becomes the issue. Is the
memory you seek in an accessible folder in your
brainƍs hard drive or randomly scattered all over
your mental ƌdesktop?ƍ This occurs when you
think of something that you knowƕ.itƍs on the
tip of your tongue, but you just canƍt remember
it. This is a retrieval issue. It means you paid
attention Ɗ you
ÿ Registered it, Retained it, you put it somewhere
in your brain, but you canƍt get it out. Retrieval
difficulty can be frustrating. Remember! You
have a database full of information, and your
brain may have to search
ÿ through many decades of storage to find the
relevant information.
o    aall 


ÿ Some forms of memory do

decline with age. As we grow
older, there is a decrease of
blood-flow to the brain, and
less efficient oxygen and
protein metabolism.
Wh  hil
in  i
¢ne theory is that older
adults fail to encode
environmental cues as easily
as younger adults Ɗ their
brains have a difficult time of
placing information in the
appropriate files. While tasks
might be more difficult to
perform Ɗ the memory of
how to do them is intact.
å  h ghan i na

ƏWearing your heart on your sleeveƐ may actually help with your memory. A
study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found
participants who consciously suppressed their emotions had a more difficult
time recalling information than those who allowed themselves to react to
emotionally stimulating films. However, those who were neutral in their
emotions (not too happy or too sad) could also remember material easily.

Hiding your emotions requires continuous self-monitoring, tapping your

mental resources critical in forming memories. But, defusing emotions at the
outset appears to help you pay closer attention, allowing your STM to be
effective in retaining data for future retrieval.

A positive outlook also strengthens your capacity for memory retrieval.

Telling yourself you have a bad memory:
1. Produces distracting emotions
2. Lowers your expectations for success
3. Decreases you motivation to use methods in helping you build better
memory skills.
When you tell yourself, ƏIƍll never remember this,Ɛ you are sending your
brain feelings of worthlessness and fear, hampering your ability to
remember. By the same token, positive mental feedback sets up an
expectation of success!
Memory makes use of
triggers known as
These include:
Images Tastes
Colors Touch
Sounds  motions
Smells Language

1. Use positive, pleasant images 5. xaggerate the size of
as the brain usually blocks importance parts of the
unpleasant images. image.
2. Use vivid, colorful, sense- 6. Use humor! Make up jokes
laden images Ɗ these are using facts and figures you
easier to remember than drab need to recall.
ones. 7. Make up rhymes to
3. Use all your senses to code remember data.
information. Remember 8. Symbols can code complex
mnemonic triggers contain messages quickly and
smells, sounds, tastes, effectively. (red traffic
movements, feelings, and lights, pointing fingers, road
pictures. signs, etc.)
4. Give your image three
dimensions, movement and
space to make it more vivid.
You can use movement to
either maintain the flow of
association, or to help you
remember actions.
 an ni
h ll ing
i    aan ag
a) Attention and Intention: d) ¢rganize: Make notes,
Pay attention to what youƍve and remember that seven
learned, and decide to items is the max. for STM.
remember it. We learn best e) Visualize: Your brain
when we have a strong thinks with words and
motivation for committing pictures, so give it both.
the material to memory. f) Talk to Yourself: Reciting
b) Relate to what you know: as you read and reviewing
How does the new notes ¢UT L¢UD
information relate to increases attention and
concepts with which youƍre motivation, and creates a
familiar? Decide to stronger neural trace of
emphasize memory devices, memory by utilizing more
visualization, or reciting. senses.
Possibly read data aloud, g) ASAP review: Go over
esp. if they are grouped notes/data right after the
rhythmically. class. This only needs to
c) Become the teacher: Grasp take about five minutes.
the basic idea and explain it
to someone else in your
own words.
V  h gh
iai n
ÿ Picture a microphone to
remember the name ƏMikeƐ
or a cross for ƏChris.Ɛ You
can also try associating the
information with a smell.
After you develop the habit,
it will be a snap and fun to
remember information this
V  h ghgµ 
This works well for
everything from playing
cards to memorizing
countries and capitals. You
ƌpegƍ a certain word or image
to the material you want to
recall, and the image itself
becomes your mnemonic.
V  h gh
This is a well-loved way to
memorizing lists. Weƍre all
familiar with Roy G. Biv for the
colors in a rainbow. The same
technique will work for any list
you need to remember. Be
creative! You form acronyms by
using each first letter from a
group of words to form a new
word. This is particularly useful
when remembering words in a
specified order. Some examples:
- NBA (National Basketball
- LAS R (Light Amplification
by Stimulated mission of
V  h ghh  c ng
Rhythm, repetition, melody, and rhyme call all aid
memory. How did you remember the alphabet?
Through a song. Make up a tune for the information,
or sing the words you need to remember to music
you know and love. If it rhymes, so much the better.
You could even learn material to Twinkle, Twinkle
Little Star. Whatever works, use it! Making rhymes
or songs to remember information can be fun,
particularly for people who like to create. Rhymes
and songs draw on your auditory memory and may
be particularly useful for those who can learn tunes,
songs, or poems easily. Like other techniques in this
section, however, they emphasize rote memory, not
understanding. Donƍt spend too much time creating
songs and rhymes to remember data. Donƍt let them
interfere with your studying Ɗ if it doesnƍt work for
you, thatƍs ¢, there might be another method listed
in this workbook that will be of assistance to you.
V  h ghcnn

Like acronyms, you use the first letter of each word you are
trying to remember. Instead of making a new word, though,
you use the letters to make a sentence. Here are some

1) Polly ventually Makes Dad A Sandwich (mathematical

order of operations: Parenthesis, xponents, Multiply,
Divide, Add, Subtract)
2) ings Phil Came ¢ver for the Genes Special (ingdom,
Phylum, Class, ¢rder, Genus, Species)

Can you think of other examples?

Like acronyms, acrostics can be very simple to remember
and are particularly helpful when you need to remember a
list in a specific order.
V  h gh"hnking
This technique is generally used when remembering
numbers, although the idea can be used for remembering
other things as well. It is based on the idea that short-
term memory is limited in the number of things that can be
contained. A common rule is that a person can remember
approx. seven ƏitemsƐ in short-term memory. In other
words, people can remember between five to nine things at
one time. Notice: Phone numbers are seven digits for a
When using chunking remember to decrease the
number of items you are holding in memory by increasing
the size of each item. *or example, in remembering the
number string 64831996, you could try to remember each
number individually, or you could try thinking about the
string as 64 83 19 96 (creating chunks of numbers.)
Instead of remembering eight numbers, you are
remembering four chunks of numbers.

¢nce you are able to
remember five items on your
list without looking, add a
6th, repeat the whole list
from the start, add a 7th, and
so on. Break up large lists,
passages, equations into
small bits that you can learn,
one step at a time, and you
may be surprised at how easy
it can be.
å ia
What you eat makes a definite
difference in your ability to process
and recall information. Some of the best
Antioxidants, for example, touted Vitamin C-
for their overall immune-boosting fruits and
properties, are also key brain vegetables include:
boosters, because they improve the ÿCantaloupe
flow of oxygen throughout the body
ÿSweet Potatoes
by fighting free radicals. ating
foods that are rich in fiber and ÿBlack currants
nutrients also helps you resist and ÿAsparagus
combat disease that affect your ÿBlueberries
memory. ÿkale
Include red foods to your diet,
which not only contain beta-
carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A)
but also stimulate, strengthen, and ey red foods
increase body temperature and include:
circulation, which increases
energy. Red foods affect your ÿWatermelon
muscles, adrenal glands, bladder, ÿTomatoes
lower limbs, and spine, making ÿStrawberries
them idea for combating fatigue, ÿRed cabbage
fever, colds, etc. Psychologically, ÿCherries
red foods ease depression,
promoting a positive attitude, ÿRadishes
which aids memory.
By using the above
mentioned techniques to
assist in your memory can
increase your learning
potential. These techniques
not only help you become
more efficient learners, but
will help in all aspects of your
life regarding memory.