Mnemonic Devices

A mnemonic device can be defined simply as a learning or memory aid. Mnemonic devices are usually based on one’s learning style / ability. So they can either be visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Flocabulary.com notes that clearly there are two basic types of mnemonic devices “Those involving rhyme, and those involving a phrase where the first letter of each word stands for another word”.

These two methods are known to be very effective in assisting and aiding memory. Although, the website continues to note that there a lot of different types of mnemonic devices like visual systems (where one creates a visual representation of the information), another one is the mnemonic link system (where an individual creates a story based on a list), the common peg system (where one would associate a number or numbers with a series of items/ situations), and last but not least the major system (where one would convert number into consonant sounds)
Meaning I can summarize a visual mnemonic device can be anything from an apple to a zebra, the idea is an individual will relate a picture or an item they see, to an event, individual or place e.g. If one sees a picture of a zebra it will remind him of the details of his trip to Africa and he / she went on a safari and met his fiancé. An auditory mnemonic device can be anything from a poem to a song, ideally one will relate a song they’ve heard to a place they’ve been or a situation they have been through e.g. Frank Sinatra’s song New York New York, might remind a person of a concert he attended in New York City, where they saw something memorable. Now this would mean if there is a kinesthetic mnemonic device then a certain action would reminds an individual of a situation that happened or he witnessed, e.g. if someone was to remember how to unlock a puzzle, he would memorize remember a set of moves he used previously used for the puzzle.

Research has clearly shown that in order for someone to remember information, It only becomes easier to remember the information one would have to first have to find it somewhere in your memory, whether an event or an item. If you want to be successful in school/ college or work you need to use active learning strategies that will help you store information and retrieve it. Mnemonic devices will definitely help you do that.

The secret behind mnemonics is to code complex strings of information in a way that will be much easier to remember in the future. Two very common types of mnemonic devices are acronyms and acrostics.
Acronyms are words that are made up of the first letters of other words. Acronyms usually assist you in remembering the first letters of items in a list, which in turn helps you remember the list itself.
e.g. to remember the slogan/ mission and vision of our organization, I made up STEEL, which represented our motto as an organization, Safety First, Technology Leaders, Engineering Expertise, Emaratis Pride, Limitless Opportunities. Our company is known as Emirates Steel Industries.

Acrostics are usually phrases that are made of words beginning with the first letter of other words. As mnemonic devices, acrostics support recall by helping you remember the list of keywords.

e.g. I remember when we were kids, to memorize the colors of the rainbow, we were taught to sing Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, which as Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.

It is why over the last few decades and probably century, scientist have been arguing and discussing about the types and components of the human memory, they did not agree on all but they all have agreed that the main three components of the memory are the sensory register, the working or shot term memory and the long term memory.

In summary the sensory register is where information that is in its original unprocessed form goes, the information has a limited duration, which means when the information is sent there it is going to stay for long.

The working memory is where most thinking is believed to occur. The working memory is where new information is believed temporarily stays will it is being processed. This part of the memory has a limited capacity, so it doesn’t hold very much info at a time.

The final component of memory is long-term memory, it has unlimited capacity so it never runs out of room. The Long-term memory has a relatively long duration, but the exact length of time is indefinite. It could be a day, a week, or even a lifetime. Long-term memory is facilitated when one connects new information to something they already know.

Information that is in long-term memory can weaken over time and may be forgotten if it is not used regularly. (associatedcontent.com)
There are several ways one can improve their memory, two examples are :-
Regular exercise
– This increases the amount of oxygen getting to your brain
– Helps reduce the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
– Is known to enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells
Good sleeping habits
– Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation.
– Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea leave you tired and unable to concentrate during the day.

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