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The other day I met this guy named Carl. Now, I might forget that name, but he was wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt. What’s a band like the Grateful Dead? Phish. Where do fish live? The ocean. What else lives in the ocean? Coral. Hello, Co-arl. (Wrubel&Spiller, 2010)

It seems the more vivid or unusual the mnemonic, the easier it is to remember. The key to using any mnemonic successfully is to find a strategy that works for you.

Some other strategies that are used to improve memory include expressive writing and saying words aloud. Expressive writing helps boost your short-term memory, particularly if you write about a traumatic experience in your life. Masao Yogo and Shuji Fujihara (2008) had participants write for 20-minute intervals several times per month. The participants were instructed to write about a traumatic experience, their best possible future selves, or a trivial topic. The researchers found that this simple writing task increased short-term memory capacity after five weeks, but only for the participants who wrote about traumatic experiences. Psychologists can’t explain why this writing task works, but it does.

What if you want to remember items you need to pick up at the store? Simply say them out loud to yourself. A series of studies (MacLeod, Gopie, Hourihan, Neary,&Ozubko, 2010) found that saying a word out loud improves your memory for the word because it increases the word’s distinctiveness. Feel silly, saying random grocery items aloud? This technique works equally well if you just mouth the words. Using these techniques increased participants’ memory for the words by more than 10%. These techniques can also be used to help you study.

How to study effectively

Based on the information presented in this chapter, here are some strategies and suggestions to help you hone your study techniques ( [link] ). The key with any of these strategies is to figure out what works best for you.

A photograph shows students studying.
Memory techniques can be useful when studying for class. (credit: Barry Pousman)
  • Use elaborative rehearsal : In a famous article, Craik and Lockhart (1972) discussed their belief that information we process more deeply goes into long-term memory. Their theory is called levels of processing    . If we want to remember a piece of information, we should think about it more deeply and link it to other information and memories to make it more meaningful. For example, if we are trying to remember that the hippocampus is involved with memory processing, we might envision a hippopotamus with excellent memory and then we could better remember the hippocampus.
  • Apply the self-reference effect : As you go through the process of elaborative rehearsal, it would be even more beneficial to make the material you are trying to memorize personally meaningful to you. In other words, make use of the self-reference effect. Write notes in your own words. Write definitions from the text, and then rewrite them in your own words. Relate the material to something you have already learned for another class, or think how you can apply the concepts to your own life. When you do this, you are building a web of retrieval cues that will help you access the material when you want to remember it.
  • Don’t forget the forgetting curve : As you know, the information you learn drops off rapidly with time. Even if you think you know the material, study it again right before test time to increase the likelihood the information will remain in your memory. Overlearning can help prevent storage decay.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse : Review the material over time, in spaced and organized study sessions. Organize and study your notes, and take practice quizzes/exams. Link the new information to other information you already know well.
  • Be aware of interference : To reduce the likelihood of interference, study during a quiet time without interruptions or distractions (like television or music).
  • Keep moving : Of course you already know that exercise is good for your body, but did you also know it’s also good for your mind? Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise (anything that gets your heart rate elevated) is beneficial for memory (van Praag, 2008). Aerobic exercise promotes neurogenesis: the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain known to play a role in memory and learning.
  • Get enough sleep : While you are sleeping, your brain is still at work. During sleep the brain organizes and consolidates information to be stored in long-term memory (Abel&Bäuml, 2013).
  • Make use of mnemonic devices : As you learned earlier in this chapter, mnemonic devices often help us to remember and recall information. There are different types of mnemonic devices, such as the acronym. An acronym is a word formed by the first letter of each of the words you want to remember. For example, even if you live near one, you might have difficulty recalling the names of all five Great Lakes. What if I told you to think of the word Homes? HOMES is an acronym that represents Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior: the five Great Lakes. Another type of mnemonic device is an acrostic: you make a phrase of all the first letters of the words. For example, if you are taking a math test and you are having difficulty remembering the order of operations , recalling the following sentence will help you: “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” because the order of mathematical operations is Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction. There also are jingles, which are rhyming tunes that contain key words related to the concept, such as i before e, except after c .


There are many ways to combat the inevitable failures of our memory system. Some common strategies that can be used in everyday situations include mnemonic devices, rehearsal, self-referencing, and adequate sleep. These same strategies also can help you to study more effectively.

Personal application questions

Create a mnemonic device to help you remember a term or concept from this chapter.

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What is an effective study technique that you have used? How is it similar to/different from the strategies suggested in this chapter?

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Questions & Answers

They remain skeptical because the human mind and behaviour is quite objective
Glynnesia Reply
can anyone suggest me how to get rid of overthinking?
Anmol Reply
wat kinda excercise should I do in mindfulness @akando?
well, u can start by looking up what it means. From then on, i would gladly assume you will not be needing another opinion on the matter. Good day to you.
Relax, short meditation, and light exercise... I suggest walking especially evenings. If you're having difficulty after a period of time seek our your Medicare Practitioner. If you do the above you will settle your mind. Remember your body is telling you to Chill. Also if you have concerns begin to
Settle them, you'll be better off, and much more mentally healthy. Hope this helps, keep us posted... Simple steps often yield BIG Results.
set a goal and set some shorter goals to keep you on track. find activity that occupy or divert your mind. try to indulge more in them. It's a slow process
thank you David ...Will surely work upon your suggestions!
may I know about most famous abnormal psychology books?
Wasana Reply
Links don't work and images aren't displayed, any ideas?
Stoian Reply
I have fallen in love, but I don't get her and she doesn't love me. Now how can I forget her totally, because her memories everyday stressed me.
Torpic Reply
it takes a while to move on. it is normal you feel that way.
try to keep your self busy... by doing many activities in a day.. then ull nt have much time to think abt tht... n slowly ull forget
to think abt tht*
I believe you should search the root of your despair the how did it happen and and why within yourself. Exactly what did you do or didn't and move on from that point. I called it ways of learning and Loving self more it will only help
try not to escape from the situation,deleting her memories will reduce ua power to accept the situation, take ua time to overcome der is no hurry, analyse well, understand that many love u but u don't love all of them, same is ua girl's case u love her but it's not necessary that she should love you
its normal to fall inlove but we can't force them to feel the same way. just try to shift your mind into some other good activities and hobbies. it well help a lot and just try to appreciate those people around you who truthfully love and care for you.
find new habits
engage yourself with reading books
if she conquered your heart, then only another person will get u thru. if she did so to ur mind, then my friend, you'll forget her, gradually, but never wholly.
did you tell her abt ur love?
Then you need to let it go. it's a bitter pill to swallow, I can relate completely. but letting go of her is the only thing that will help you! stay strong my friend! remember that the night is darkest before dawn and that with hardship comes ease!
Try to analyze y she avoided you. then work on the problem.
Set life goals. Upgrade yourself everyday. Learn how you can be better than yesterday. When you become a better version of yourself everything will be different. Do it because of you, not because of her. After that you will have a clear vision, then you will know what to do. The key is inside you.
we are the same 😪☹☹ and sometimes i suddenly feel sad 😪😪 and i wonder if the guy that i like was thinking of me too.
my sichuvation also same ...u forgot the her memories nd every thing thats it only na then look to other girl automatically u can forgoted
Think about her detramental quialities that annoyed you and this way you will stop being in love with her.
Make urself busy as much as u can.
it is going to take time and yes try to be busy
if the spinal cord is damaged will the brain still function properly
Olaniyi Reply
I believe it can cause some inflammation (which could cause some damage) but that would just result in lost nerves
how will the nerve impulses from the rest of the body be relayed to the brain?
A question if anyone could help please. Can cbt help from waking up covered in sweat with the worst feeling's of dread, guilt and hopeless?
James Reply
Try to keep patience, this time will pass. And always do something that makes you happy. Have fun with your family and friends. Love this life, because we have got it one.
for how long have you experience this?
James, have you been able to identify the root causes or consulted with anyone...family or just a counselor even If on the phone with anyone? its terrible dread, sweating. I was there once if I may be open
I've been thinking of committing suicide
a5iahellgirl Reply
whatever it is that you are going through. it will end. things will work out and you ll emerge stronger than ever.
talk to us. the more you let it out. the more you ll be free
I can't even put in words how incredibly sorry I feel hearing those words. Since I had depression for a long time(still sometimes do) and also thought about committing suicide and to this day are still struggling with anxiety I might know how you feel. Is there anything I can do to help you?
I also felt like that... heck... I still feel like that from time to time... but whenever I do I just run off to my family (my life...my heart) and give them a tight hug... u could do the same. it could be ur family or relatives... just hug no ques. asked trust me ... they will give you the answer
I also felt like that... heck... I still feel like that from time to time... but whenever I do I just run off to my family (my life...my heart) and give them a tight hug... u could do the same. it could be ur family or relatives... just hug no ques. asked trust me ... they will give you the answer.
suicide even though is the is the best way possible to get away frm this life has no worth... what ever u r going through im very sure tht it cant b more than the suffering tht the army men feel..... or is it bcz of some opportunity tht u dint get? if ths the case then my frend ans this question...
does a cricket player think of committing suicide jus bcz he left a ball or got out?
stand in front of the mirror try asking yourself.. why u feel like that in the first place?
no right? he tries hard in the next match .. the same way.. i feel our life is a game of cricket n opportunity r like balls few strike n few may nt n the best part is u r in this game till u urself give up..
I agree with sushritha... 100%
well said ... my friend..
"The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope." ~Stephen Hawking
my maternal grandpa used to do business in Kolkata back in 50's...
amen to that... bharadwaj
Yes sometimes it can be helpful but not always as in severe condition.
wtevr happns , it can not be bad thn diying, bcz ones u r gone, u can nevee return, as long as you are here, you change things, not today but maybe be tomorrow, wtevet it is, it will pass by I promise, I jave gone through many distress full events in my life, n depression as well, i can feel it, but
today i appreciate that i did not take my life, though i tried many a time, but today i know, if i would hv died back then, nothing would have been btr, all the lives i have touched now n changed, all bcz i didnt die. you can help smone in furt, nothing more then at least in crossing the road, which
is a lot for many people
how to get a rid of addiction
deepak Reply
tell urself theres no such thing! talk your self into believing there is no such thing as addiction! spend time with yourself! think by yourself. trust yourself, believe in yourself but most importantly love yourself! because when u love yourself you wont let yourself go!
Well, getting help is one big step. Try to wean yourself off your addiction. I have a ski. disorder that makes me addicted to picking my skin, so to replace it I played with putty to keep my hands distracted. It's a healthy combination of self help and professional help
it depends on what kind of addiction it is, how long have you been consuming it, how strong is your will power and how stable you are as a person:)) it is good that you realized that you have an addiction, i think the next step is admitting yourself to a rehab clinic
in addition--- just shut yourself from that addiction. do what you have to do in order not to indulge such things (avoid or even repel your access to "it") and keep CALM.. breath in breath out (he he) and tell yourself good job!!
Any child psychologist out there ?
Tehseen Reply
what are the issues child psychologists deal with?
estimating about the child and his thinking in different situations as childs mind in unawares and unmatured and their brain thinks in an unorganized way
i would like to research depression as my topic for the research paper?
guyleine Reply
Good idea. What exactly about depression do you want to research? There is a whole to potentially research.
I hope I would b able to guide you
Anyone majoring in psychology in college. I wonder what it's like.
I am a psych major
It is great but there are a lot of statistics classes also.
how do I manage my mood swings? I m tired and sick of it.
samed Reply
A)Go see a professional to find out if it's anything serious. B)If not just work through it in time with help.
Also, doing physical activity helps with this.
play games it's helps you
I write my feelings in a journal. Note why am I feeling this way and remember I have the power to change because I am in control of my mind and body
look in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), Work on personnel development (we can all get better step by step) , Start exercising,walks and meditation. I'd like to recommend you a motivational speaker you should look into and follow. 'Lisa Nichols'. best wishes :)
I am going to look her up to. We all have to work on our personal development and it is a lifetime process. Practice makes perfect
practice mindfulness for 30 seconds a day. during those 30 seconds manage your breathing then decide which trait you wanna bring out the most for the next hours, my personal favorite are patience and persistence
Sorry but what is the topic ? 😊
Dani Reply
what is "measurement of self?"
manisha Reply
taking a guess here and saying that it's how you evaluate the image of yourself according to concepts/constructs constructed by society or yourself, and if you meet those standards
through introspection
how much clear is your mind and thought process
what's the best wanton treat this?

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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