Ii) Short-Term (Working Memory)

- It is a busy, temporary workplace.

- There are 4 components to working memory

i. Auditory (linguistic)

ii. Visual (images and spatial input)

iii. Executive (controlling function that keeps track of all activities in working memory)

iv. Episodic buffer (stories that might be heard)

NB All these share 2 characteristics, eg limited capacity and limited duration for holding information. This means that information will disappear unless transformed into more durable state. One way to do this is repetition.called consolidation.

- The brain can hold around 7 pieces of information for less than 30 seconds. To extend the information storage, you need to repeat the storage process. One way of doing this is to think or talk about an event immediately after it has occurred

- Memory involves 4 steps (encoding, storage, retrieval and forgetting).

. Encoding involves transforming an outside stimulus into the electrical language of the brain, ie an energy transfer. It describes what happens in the initial moment of learning when the brain first encounters the new information. There is automatic processing of incoming data.

There are 3 types of encoding, ie semantic, phonemic and structural

i. Semantic (paying attention to the definitions of words)

ii. Phonemic (comparison between sounds of words)

iii. Structural (visual inspection of shapes)

The type of encoding has an important impact on your ability to remember.

The common characteristics of encoding include

i) greater complexity means greater learning, ie the more meaning and personalized the encoded information at the moment of learning, the stronger the memory

ii) new pathways can become permanent

It appears that a memory trace is stored in the same parts of the brain that perceive and process the initial input, ie

"...The neural pathways initially recruited to process new information end up being the permanent pathways the brain reuses to store information..."

John Medina, 2009

The cortex are involved in learning and permanent memory storage; with memories distributed all over the surface of the cortex, ie no central storage.

"...Many brain regions are involved in presenting even single inputs, and each region contributes something differently in the entire memory. Storage is a co-operative event..."

John Medina, 2009

Replicating the conditions for initial coding encourage retrieval - best strategy for retrieval is to mimic the conditions at initial coding. This can be responsive to mood, ie context-dependent or state dependent

NB In endeavouring to get information across to others, the introduction is vital. It must be compelling to get their attention.

Forgetting allows prioritising of events that are less important for our survival and these are released to give space to the more relevant.

In summary

"...information is remembered best when it is elaborate, meaningful and contextual..."

John Medina, 2009

This stresses the importance of real-world stories to complement information given and main learning points.

",,,Information is more readily processed if it can be immediately associated with information already present in the learner's brain. We compare the 2 inputs, look for similarities and differences as we encode the new information......providing examples makes the information more elaborative, more complex, better encoded, and therefore better learned..."

John Medina, 2009


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