How Memory Functions Term Paper

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¶ … Memory Functions

Memory is a function of the human brain that is highly debated, multi-faceted and nonetheless crucial to human existence. To create memory is to learn and to learn is the ultimate goal of education. According to Paul Chance in his highly acclaimed work Learning and Behavior "Learning is a different sort of mechanism from inherited behavior. Learning does not give the species the tendency to behave a certain way in a particular situation; rather; it gives the individual the tendency to modify its behavior to suit a situation. Only learning enables the individual to adapt to rapidly changing conditions." (1999:19) Without memory, learning would not be possible. To facilitate learning the educator must go to the core of the process, and create a clear understanding of how an individual's memory is formed, in all its multi-faceted forms. Utilizing the whole scope of one's understanding of memory, will lead an educator to the most productive learning environments possible.

In the modern information age, there is a sense that memory tends to be less important than it has been in the past, as so much information can be gathered from the great information store, and then tucked away again for future reference. Sadley, this does not serve the purpose of learning core information, beyond remembering how to use the index of a book, or a search engine on the internet. Historically, memory was an essential and recognized part of knowledge, utilized by past great thinkers to store most of their needed concepts and ideas, and appropriately associate them with future needed messages.

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Memory work was seen as being critically important to invention (20, 26, 197), arrangement (33), delivery (208), ethos (68, 182), logos (104), and audience (181). Classical discussions of memory, Carruthers noted, consistently reveal that the ancients had a highly sophisticated awareness of the complex interrelationships between writing/reading, collecting / recollecting, and composition/division (19, 25, 27, 30, 72, 166, 189-92, 243).

Reynolds 1993:6)

Term Paper on How Memory Functions Assignment

In recent more recent years there has been a significant emphasis on understanding the brain chemistry of memory, as far greater knowledge of the workings of the mind are present in today's society than in any known before. One most interesting fact is that memory, from a general standpoint is not literal, and therefore cannot always be treated as such.

A psychologists have recognized that memory is not a literal reproduction of the past but instead depends on constructive processes that are sometimes prone to errors, distortions, and illusions (for recent reviews, see Estes 1997; Johnson et al. 1993; Roediger 1996; Schacter 1995, 1996). Contemporary cognitive psychologists have been especially concerned with constructive aspects of memory,...during the past several years, however, cognitive neuroscientists have been increasingly interested in phenomena that illuminate constructive aspects of remembering, such as false recognition and confabulation.

Schacter, Norman & Koutstall, 1998: 389)

The memory is not a simple recording device that reiterates needed information, when recall is taken into play. It is a fluid representation of past experiences, that often include many stimuli including sound, sight and smell.

A memory work is recollecting as many details as possible, and regarding them as of sufficient importance to make them worth recording"

Radstone, 2000:176) the value placed on an event or a particular piece of information, can be highly determined by the manner in which it is received and the context of its placement in one's life, hence the importance of the learning environment.

Although the art of memory has been explored for centuries, recent research in the "Decade of the Brain," has provided a plethora of information that may accelerate our ability to understand, apply and access how we learn and remember. The new millennium should produce exciting, innovative ways to access and expand memory. Scientists have located multiple loci in the brain for memory storage and neurochemical research has provided invaluable information on the chemistry of neuron activity. Recent use of music and exercise are demonstrating exciting and effective ways to increase memory. All of these discoveries and the potential instructional strategies are important for educators to incorporate into their pedagogical repertoire.

Fahey & De Los Santos, 2002: 380)

Fahey and De Los Santos go on to discuss a memory template that has proven highly successful in the development of learning/remembering. "The Multiple "R's of Memory-Record, Rehearse, Retain, Reconstruct, Retrieval"

Fahey & De Los Santos, 2002: 380) Long-term storage of ideas, concepts and applications is essential to the development from the mere remembrance of a fact to the construct of a real learned concept.

For a person to remember he, or she, needs to proceed through a pattern of actions that enable a word, idea, concept or skill to become embedded into long-term storage. Long-term memory storage is enhanced by association, repetition, reconstruction or through vivid feelings. Preparation for standardized tests at key gateways in educational evaluation requires the ability to memorize information and to recognize it at the appropriate times. Content knowledge is required before the learner can move to the more complex levels of educational taxonomy. In this pattern the multiple "R's of memory might be helpful.

Fahey & De Los Santos 2002: 380)

Fahey and De Los Santos demonstrate the need to utilize mnemonic devices to create long-term memory.

Mnemonic devices such as the loci, link, peg, and phonetic key word systems have been used successfully for years in assisting students to form associations in the process of learning. These devices provide imagery, rhymes and organizational patterns that are used in a variety of learning contexts.

Fahey & De Los Santos 2002:380)

The function of the brain may never be fully understood, but what we know so far has given the field of education a plethora of tools that demonstrate the practical as well as the neuroscience of memory.

Conditions that may assist memory include:[] Repetition in learning -- not boring, exciting[] Emotional attachment during learning[] Proper neurochemistry through diet and vitamins Mnemonic devices for better association and recall[] High challenge-low threat (Caine & Caine, 1994)[] Hands-on, active, visual, kinetic, metaphoric instruction[] Context and connection to ensure embedding knowledge[] Frequent assessment with non-threatening feedback to ensure mastery[] Certain classical music compositions[] Exercises that stimulate the brain

Fahey & De Los Santos 2002:380)

The educator must be clear in their development of systems that sponsor the individual's ideas of importance, through creating positive situations that build and restore the ability to remember and learn. In so doing the educator might need to eradicate situations and behaviors in the system that foster the need to forget, as a self-defense mechanism. One specific group, that is associated with memory impairment, likely as a result of incomplete brain functioning is the very young.

Greene 1992:183) Fostering situations that feed the development of synaptic connections, that guide memory is therefore an essential role of the early childhood educator. Understanding that memory is fluid and connected with multi-systematic context is essential to that development.

Cognitive psychologists (e.g., Ashcraft, 1989; Klatsky, 1980) have emphasized two basic distinctions with respect to human memory. One of these distinctions is that between declarative and procedural memory. Declarative memory is considered to be memory for basic facts, concepts, and propositions. Procedural memory is memory of how to do something, including various mental procedures and psychomotor skills.

Martin 1993: 169-170)

Historical emphasis has been on the first distinction, that of procedural and declarative memory, because for the most part the kinds of memories or learning one receives in school are not associated with the personal, they are memories that most if not all people are believed to need to survive and prosper. Yet, developmentally, young children especially are driven by the personal, the perspective of the self as center, but to some degree we all are. It is for this reason that new inroads are being made in to the idea that memory should be associated with the personal to be effective. Regardless of the historical attempts to create uniformity in learning and attempt to associate all scholarly learning with the abstract, a situation that is contrary to human psychology, many people are much more likely to remember even the most abstract concepts from a personal perspective of context and autobiographic details. So, instead of fighting nature why not embrace it and teach abstract concepts in a way that they are associated with positive personal growth. People are also likely to remember the manner in which they did not learn a concept that was deemed crucial as well, from a personal perspective. Educators would do well to seek out these memories and replay them in their own memory, so as to better understand why certain situations did not foster learning.

The second distinction is that between semantic and episodic memory. Semantic memory contains a person's general knowledge, including knowledge of language.... Episodic memory contains an autobiographical record of personal experiences particular to an individual. It is the kind of memory that is involved in remembering past events....episodic memory "is the form most familiar to the proverbial man on… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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