MEMORY AND RECALL
When you need to memorize something or study something carefully, use RCRC
R = READ
Read a little bit of material. Read it more than one time.
C = COVER
Cover up the material with your hand.
R = RECITE
Tell yourself what you have read.
C = CHECK
If you forget something that is important, begin again.
Lift your hand and check.
(Solso, 1979; West, 1985; Lapp, 1987)
A. Eliminate non-essential material
B. Facilitate attention
1. Memory space is scarce and thus precious
2. Items that can be recalled via notes, references, etc. should not be remembered unless
essential for daily life
1. Reduce unwanted visual, auditory, somatosensory and anxiety-related distractions
C. Maximize depth of processing
2. Maintain task focus by being "single-minded'
a. Organize and control your learning environment
b. Use earplugs to reduce noise
c. Use relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety/stress
d. Use stretching/exercise to reduce muscle tension
a. If going to another room to get something, complete that task before being
distracted by another
D. Optimize the timing of learning
1. Think about significance of new material
2. Elaborate and make connections
3. How does new information fit in with what you already know
1. Study to assure that immediate memory (seconds), short-term memory (minutes),
and long-term memory (one day or more) are competent
E. Rehearse to facilitate transfer from short-term to long-term memory
a. Review the same materials at least three times
2. Space study periods, providing at least 10 min per hour of rest
3. Distribute material to be memorized over several short study periods rather than one
long one (avoid cramming)
a. Remember that short-term memory capacity is limited
4. Try studying before going to sleep to minimize interference
1. Use successively longer intervals
F. Use external memory aids
a. Repeat after 10 seconds, then after 20 seconds, then 40 seconds
G. Develop "habits" of remembering (procedural memory)
1. Take notes; make sure paper and pencil are available; keep all notes in one place
so you don't forget where you put them
2. Use electronic reminding devices which can be programmed to ring an alarm and print
a message at a specified time
3. Put objects or notes in prominent places where they can't be overlooked
a. Link new tasks to old habits
b. E.g. place pills to be taken in morning by toothbrush
4. Use devices that let you know if you forgot
a. Use divided pill boxes so you can see if you have taken pill or not
1. If you frequently lock yourself out of your house because of forgetting keys
H. Explore your learning/memory style
a. Develop habit of having keys in your hand before pulling door shut
b. Initially will require active attention and perhaps external cues, i.e. large sign
on door "keys in hand"
c. With sufficient practice, procedures will become an "automatic habit"
1. Discover how you learn best
I. Use associative techniques to facilitate encoding and retrieval
a. Listening (auditory input channel); left temporal-parietal processing
b. Reading (visual input channel); left temporal-parietal processing
c. Writing (motoric output with visual and kinesthetic feedback); left temporal-parietal
d. Visual imagery (mainly right temporal processing)
e. Acoustic imagery (mainly right temporal processing)
2. Practice using different approaches to optimize your learning mode
3. Study with friends who have complementary styles of learning (left/right learners
may benefit from each other)
1. Method of successive reduction
a. Review materials repeatedly until the number of associable elements is reduced
to a manageable list. Then use method of paired associates.
i Verbal-nonverbal associations
(a)The more bizarre and striking, better the memory. For example, an "endocarp"
is a fruit pit. Picture yourself hitting a carp (fish) with a gigantic fruit pit (nonverbal
ii Acustico-verbal images
iii Verbal-image combinations
(a)For above image of hitting fish with fruit pit, add play on words, such as,
"This is the end o' carp."
(b)E.g. sound of state names could be visualized, e.g. Minnesota = mini soda
(c)Use rhymes and rhythms, "Thirty days has September
(a)To remember that the capital of Maryland is Annapolis, think of Mary
landing on a apple
iv Verbal-verbal combinations
(a)Use mnemonics such as jingles, to help remember a list of terms in order.
E.g. "On Old Olympus' towering top
" for cranial nerves, "Olfactory,
Optic, Occulomotor, Trochlear, etc.
v Numerical-verbal combinations
(a)Make up memorable 7-letter words for phone numbers using the letters
on the dial: 1=ABC, 2=DEF, etc
b. Method of loci
(i) So 463-3696 becomes HOE DOWN
(b)For automatic teller codes, make up a 4-word phrase: number of letters in each
word is the number in the code
(i) If code is 5424, code might be "Money, give me some!"
(ii) Make code relevant to task to minimize difficulty
i Sequential recall
(a)A list of cues is derived from memory images of geographic or spatial locations
(top of head, forehead, nose, ears, chin, neck, etc.)
(b)Items to be remembered are associated with each of these locations
(c)The imaginal construction should be unusual, bizarre and striking
ii Mental mapping
(a)A variation of the method of loci
(b)Allows for construction of an analogue of the materials to be learned in the
form of a conceptual drawing with interactive components
2. Memory strategies
a. Remembering faces
b. Remembering foreign words
i Look directly at the person, say the name aloud as soon as you are introduced
ii Rehearse the name at successively longer intervals
iii Look for the most memorable feature and associate that with name (e.g. a man
named Bentavagnia who has a hooked nose-imagine him with a nose like a bent weather
iv Invent a feature with the name
(a)Zukerman = sucker man (imagine the man with an all day sucker)
i Study Latin and Greek prefixes and suffixes to facilitate semantic associations
(a)Form multiple associations to each word
(b)Do English-foreign and then foreign-English
1. ATTENTION: Attend to the material intensely and wholly. Nothing else should enter
your mind. Later, but not now.
2. INTEREST: Ask questions to stimulate interest. Take part or sides in the problem
issues and subjects you are reading about.
3. INTENTION: Intend to remember as if your life depended on it.
4. BELIEVE: Trust and believe in your ability to remember. It will strengthen as
you lay burdens on it and because you come to trust it.
5. START RIGHT: Concentrate on accurate input, not speed, at the beginning.
6. SELECT: Concentrate on the most significant things, the essential and the important.
You can't, nor are you expected, to get 100%. Give your most intense attention to what is
new, difficult and must be remember.
7. ASSOCIATE: The more associations you can elicit for an idea, the more meaning
it will have; the more meaningful the learning, the better one is able to remember it. People
with good memories usually THINK OVER their experiences-real and vicarious-and systematically
relate or associate them with previous learning.
8. BACKGROUND: Build background. The more background you have on a subject, the
more interest you will have and the better you can form associations and discern relationships
between the new and old.
9. ORGANIZATION: A good memory is like a well-organized and well-maintained filing
system. When a new fact presents itself and you decide to keep it, you will associate (file)
it with its natural or logical group. Bunch or associate ideas, facts, or details consistent
with the organization of the chapter.
10. RECITATION: Quiz or self-test yourself after every paragraph or natural break.
Recite in your own words. Recitation not only serves memory but tests and promotes understanding.
11. NOTES: Take brief notes in your own words and arrange them in some meaningful
order. Review them immediately after concluding the chapter.
12. REVIEW: The best time to review is immediately after initial learning has taken
place. We forget most in the first 24-48 hours.
13. SPACED REVIEW: Periodically review so that forgetting has less of a chance to
take place. If the intervals between reviews are too widely spaced, more forgetting will
14. OVERLEARN: When you are sure you know it, then review it one or two more times.
If you can recall it instantly, you have overlearned it. The more important and difficult
the learning, the more you should overlearn it and reinforce it with frequent reviews.
15. STUDY=>SLEEP: Freshly learned material is better remembered by most people
after a period of sleep or mental activity than after a period of daytime activity when
interference takes place.