Monday, July 25, 2011

Memory is popping up everywhere

posted by Melissa
Guess what we talked about tonight in Psychology 100?  Memory!

It was fun to learn about memory, and left me wishing I had written my paper on it like I intended.  Instead I opted for a study on mothers and their birth stories, which does have to do with memory.  In fact, it falls under one of the topics we covered this evening, how emotional or stressful moments leave us with stronger memories.  The hormones that are released during heightened emotional experiences affect how we encode that information.

Encoding is the process of getting information into our memory.  First we have sensory memory, which precedes encoding, it is brief, lasting less than one second.  If you have thought about it, you're past sensory memory and moving toward working memory.  Working memory and short term memory are the next stages.  Both are short lived and can consist of up to approximately 7 pieces of information.  We did a short exercise in class in which we had to remember lists of numbers, starting with a sequence of 3 and working up to 9.  I memorized up to 7, a common amount for most people in class.

In order for information to move beyond short term memory, you need to rehearse it, which is encoding that information into your long term memory.  Our brains have the capacity to store up to 100 terabytes of information.  I have no idea what that means, but when our lecturer compared it to the fact that the entire US Library of Congress holds 10 terabytes of information, it started to make a little sense.  And at the most, we only use 1 billion bytes of that capacity.  You do the math, I'm not in math class this quarter.

Perhaps if I had encoded that kind of math more effectively, I could easily recall and compute.

In class, we went on to discuss some of the other factors that influence encoding, and I definitely perked up.  I mean, I got a serious task still ahead of me, 4 more stanzas to my poem.  Not to mention the muscular system for A&P class.  Yes, on August 1st, I have 2 tests and my poetry recitation.  Dear god, please do not let it be on a city bus. (Vote! - upper right hand corner of blog) At the very least, it will be a moment I will never forget, with all that stress!

Giving meaning to what you are learning can influence your encoding of the information.  I already do that with the Kipling poem, it is very meaningful and I find if I can recall one key noun for each line, the rest comes pretty easily.  That could also fall under chunking.  I chunk together the key words into a manageable list and recall them as I go.

One factor that I am going to take into account now that I have had my class is the influence of spacing.  It is the idea of not "cramming" but instead studying or memorizing for short bits of time.  It may take longer initially, but over time it is shown to have a more lasting effect on the recall of that memory.

And in that vain, with Tallulah whining at me to go to bed, I must space these posts and leave you until next time.

spacing memory...

No comments: