The Mystery of Memory NCTM Regional Conference & Exposition Nashville, TNNovember 19, 2009
The Mystery of Memory Presenter Information Kay Haralson, Associate Professor Student Success Specialist, Title III Grant Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tn 37044
The Mystery of Memory • Definition • “Memory is an organism’s ability to store, retain, and subsequently retrieve information.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory)
The Mystery of Memory • So what determines what gets stored and what gets trashed? • Why are some memories easily retrieved and others put up a fight? • Why can I remember what type of flowers were in the lei I wore at a luau in Hawaii 10 years ago, but can’t remember if I turned off the coffeepot this morning? • Why can I remember faces of former students, but not names? • How can I purposefully create lasting memories? Understanding how memory works will shed light on some of these questions.
The Mystery of Memory Three Phases of Memory • Learning or encoding phase • Storage or retaining phase • Retrieval phase Source: Sprenger
The Mystery of Memory Your memory works similar to a digital camera. Memory: Camera: Source: Staley
The Mystery of Memory Problems can occur during any phase • Learning phase • Lack of attention, focus, or concentration • Storage phase • Sleep deprivation, interruptions during storage • Retrieval phase • Lack of appropriate cues or triggers, distortion of information Source: Sprenger
The Mystery of Memry • The categories of memory are related to the duration of memory retention. • Sensory memory • Short term memory (temporary) • Immediate memory • Active working memory • Long term memory (permanent) • Explicit memory (declarative) • Implicit memory (non-declarative) Source:, Sprenger, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Sensory Memory • Information enters our brain through our senses. (i.e. seeing, hearing, touching, etc.) • Operates subconsciously or consciously • It is where we put information briefly while we decide what to do with it. • Degrades very quickly, stays up to 30 seconds. • If information is determined to be unimportant it drops out of the temporary memory system. Source: Sprenger, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Short Term Memory • Immediate memory (conscious memory) • The process by which sensory memory is held in the brain. • Allows us to take in new information and hold it while more is added. • Adult capacity for this short term storage is between 3 to 5 items. • Can recall something from several seconds to up to a minute without rehearsal. Source: Sousa, Sprenger, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Look at the letters below for 3 seconds and try to remember as many as possible. NRAFBITBRUTK
The Mystery of Memory • Write down the letters you remember. • Your sensory memory saw all twelve letters, but your immediate memory probably only placed 3−5 in short term storage. • If I asked you to recall the letters five minutes from now, you would probably remember even fewer.
The Mystery of Memory • However, if the twelve letters are “chunked” into meaningful groups of letters, you will be able to recall more letters. Try again. When the next slide goes away, write down the letters you remember.
The Mystery of Memory NRA FBI TBR UTK
The Mystery of Memory • A “chunk” is a “perceptual unit”. If the letters are random, each letter is a “chunk” of information. But if the letters are separated into meaningful groups, each group becomes a “chunk”: “NRA” “FBI” “TBR” “UTK” • Chunking can increase memory capacity. • The ideal size for chunking is 3 (whether meaningful or not). Ex. Phone numbers, car tags, street addresses, initials, pledge of allegiance. Sources: Thompson & Madigan, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Short Term Memory • Active Working Memory • When something from sensory memory requires more of our attention it is transferred to working memory. • Working memory is like a computer screen, where we work on something and eventually dispose of it or save it elsewhere. • Information can be retrieved for up to a minutewithout rehearsal. • Capacity very limited, stores between 5−9 items. Sources: Sousa, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Short Term Memory • Active Working Memory and Memory Process • It is where new and old information meet. • When exposed to new information our brains look for “hooks” or previously established memories related to the new information to increase the likelihood of recall. • Stores the first words of a sentence so you understand the sentence when you get to the end. • Allows you to retain a question while your mind searches for an answer. Sources: Sousa, Sprenger, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Four Factors Affecting Immediate and Working Memories are Important for Learning • Interest • Intent • Understanding • Prior Knowledge Even without the others, having the “intent” to learn can make the difference. Source: Hopper
The Mystery of Memory • Time Limits of Working Memory • Preadolescents 5-10 minutes • Adolescents and adults 10−20 minutes • After this time, focus drifts, fatigue, boredom sets in • To maintain focus, you must change the way you deal with the item. (i.e. switch from listening to physically applying it, talk about it, make connections to other learning) Source: Sousa
The Mystery of Memory Implication for Teachers Consider capacity limits and time limits on working memory when planning lessons.
The Mystery of Memory • Long Term Memory • Implicit Memory (Nondeclarative) • Memory that occurs without conscious effort and was not consciously learned. • More involved with feelings and “how to” rather than “what”. • Three types: • Conditioned response • Procedural memory • Emotional memory Sources: Sousa, Sprenger, Thompson and Madigan, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Conditioned Response • Formed by repetition • Creates strong networks in the brain, lasting memories • Some may require a trigger (Plop, plop, fizz, fizz . . .) • Other may be automatic, i.e. singing the alphabet, reciting multiplication facts, pledge of allegiance • Use this memory type to help learn information by using melodies, rhymes, metaphors, etc. Source: Sprenger
The Mystery of Memory • Procedural Memory • Implicit-procedural memory deals with knowing how rather than knowing what. • It is the learning of motor and cognitive skills, automated procedures, i.e. riding a bike, finding our way to work, counting, math operations. • Procedural memory is enhanced by rote rehearsal. • In procedural memory a set of steps can be followed to produce an outcome, without knowing why we are doing them. Sources: Sousa, Sprenger, Thompson & Madigan
The Mystery of Memory • Emotional Memory • The most powerful memory. • Neutral experiences leave little to remember. • Experiences that stir emotions are remembered longer. You remember what you FEEL. • Emotional memory accounts for our fears, phobias, likes, and dislikes. • Emotions affect attention, perception, decision making, and memory. • Creative thinking skills and problem solving can create emotional memory. • Using discussion, role playing, etc. to add emotions to learning. Sources: Sousa, Sprenger, Thompson & Madigan
The Mystery of Memory Implication for Teachers Personalize learning, make up stories, have students create stories and relate information to life experiences. Stir EMOTION!
The Mystery of Memory • Long Term Memory • Explicit Memory (Declarative) • Memory explicitly stored and saved, i.e. names, facts, music, objects, events • A conscious and almost effortless recall of facts and events • Can be consciously retrieved and put into words • Two types: • Episodic Memory • Semantic MemorySource: Sousa, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Episodic Memory • The conscious memory of life events. • Is location and circumstance related. • To remember what you did last Saturday you must remember whereyou were. This leads to who you saw, what you said, what you felt, etc. • Importance for learning: Triggers can be used to retrieve episodic memory, i.e. A student looks at the whiteboard or the teacher, visualizes the teacher explaining a problem and triggers the memory of how to work the problem. Sources: Sprenger, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory Implication for Teachers Test in the same environment in which the learning occurred, with the same teacher in the room. Provides TRIGGERS!
The Mystery of Memory • Semantic Memory • Knowledge of facts not related to any event. • Must be practiced or rehearsed for encoding. (Learning dates, names, facts, etc.) • Must be consciously processed for retention. • Teaching strategies for semantic information include mnemonics, acronyms, creating hooks, etc. (This is one reason faculty use seating charts, identifying each student with a location.)Sources: Sprenger, Wikipedia
The Mystery of Memory • Keys to Memory • Pay attention - intentionally stay focused • Visualization - create a visual image in your mind, the brain thinks in pictures and concepts, not words • Association - find something to connect the information to (hooks) • Imagination - get creative when visualizing or making associations Source: Charpko
The Mystery of Memory Implication for Teachers By creating a visual representation of a situation that is relevant to the student, greater meaning is obtained.
The Mystery of Memory • Enhance Memory and Increase Retention • Rehearsal • Rote Rehearsal −When something needs to be learned exactly, i.e. memorizing a poem, dates. • More likely to remember if rehearsal is spaced out over extended periods of time. • Chunking aids memory and recall. • Elaborative Rehearsal − Information does not need to be exact, more important to associate new ideas with prior knowledge, make connections and assign meaning, i.e. reading and discussing a novel. • Goal of learning is not just to acquire knowledge, but to use it in various settings that are relevant. Source: Sousa ,Sprenger
The Mystery of Memory Implication for Teachers Information is most likely to get stored if it makes sense and has meaning. The more we teach through declarative memory, involving understanding and meaning, the more students will succeed and enjoy learning. Source: Sousa
The Mystery of Memory • Look at the list of 5 words below for 5 seconds: table green hope cat fifty
The Mystery of Memory • Forgetting and Degree of Learning • We remember best that which comes first, second best that which comes last, and least that which is in the middle. (Primacy-Recency Effect) • Distributed practice leads to better retention than does massed practice. • What were the five words? Sources: Sousa, Thompson and Madigan
The Mystery of Memory • Factors that Influence Memory • Aerobic exercise - increases the oxygen to the brain • A healthy heart - the brain needs a good supply of blood • Healthy diet and plenty of water • Sleep - the brain molds newly learned information into lasting memories most successfully while we rest. Sources: Chrapko, Sprenger, www.memoryzine.com
The Mystery of Memory • Factors that Influence Memory • Stress or depression - anxiety or depression hampers memory • Mental exercise - keeping your mind active • Memory is enhanced by: color, pleasant smells, space, movement, patterns, repetition, connections, fun Sources: Chrapko, Sprenger, www.memoryzine.com
The Mystery of Memory The Basics to Remember! • Memory is about making CONNECTIONS! • Connections start with hooks and visual images. • Recall is determined by how well your memories are connected and how many paths you have made to that memory in the brain. • Well worn paths provide better recall.
References • Chrapko, Tonia. “Secrets of the Brain: the Mystery of Memory.” Science Mysteries. 2004. 17 Nov 2009 <http://www.world-mysteries.com/sci_memory1.htm>. • Hooper, Carolyn, “Memory Principles.” Study Skills Memory Principles. 2003. 17 Nov 2009 <http://www.mtsu.edu/~studskl/mem.html>. • “Memory.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 11 Nov 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory >. • “Memory Fitness.” MemoryZine. 11 Nov 2009 <http://www.memoryzine.com/MF.htm>. • Sousa, David A. (2008). How the Brain Learns Mathematics. California: Corwin Press, Inc. • Sprenger, Marilee B. (2003). Differentiation Through Learning Styles and Memory. California: Corwin Press, Inc. • Staley, Constance C. (2009). Focus on College Success. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. • Thompson, Richard F. & Madigan, Stephen A. (2007). Memory: The Key to Consciousness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Thank you for your time and attention! If you would like a copy of this presentation go to www.apsu.edu/haralson and click on Memory, or email email@example.com.