The stages involved in remembering

Typically there are three stages involved in remembering: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Encoding refers to the registration stage or getting the information into memory. Storage refers to the maintenance of information in the memory store, and retrieval refers to the stage of extracting or recalling the information when it is required. After a neurological insult to the brain each of these stages can be affected.

The following are some suggestions for improving encoding, storage, and retrieval:

1. Simplify the information you give to a memory-impaired person.

2. Reduce the amount of information supplied at any one time.

3. Ensure that there is minimal distraction.

4. Make sure the information is understood—by asking the person to repeat it in his/her own words.

5. Encourage the person to link or associate information with material that is already known.

6. Try to ensure processing at a deeper level—by encouraging the person to ask questions.

7. Use the 'little and often' rule.

8. Make sure learning occurs in different contexts to avoid context specificity and enhance generalization. Recall and recognition

Recall and recognition are two of the main ways we remember information. Recall involves actively finding the information to be remembered. If I asked someone to summarize what they had read in this chapter so far they would demonstrate this by recalling the information. In some situations, however, we do not need to recall the information but to recognize it. Most of us at some time have been unable to tell someone how to find a particular street but can nevertheless take ourselves there with no trouble. We recognize which turns to make and when but cannot actively recall the route. Most memory-impaired people find recall harder than recognition, although both systems are usually affected. Some people might have difficulty with both verbal and visual information, while others might have problems in only one of these modalities.

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