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The power of mnemonics

Monday, September 12, 2016 - 11:17am

While it may not ring with the poetry of 'memory,' mnemonics represent the patterns and associations that allow us to remember - and learn - and will be the topic of what sounds like a fascinating presentation this afternoon, sponsored by the department of psychology and CTL:

Henry L. Roediger III, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Washington University, will provide a quick history of interest in mnemonics and then discuss modern research. He will discuss the usual processes involved in mnemonic training and how these processes support the validity of conclusions derived from laboratory research, albeit in magnified form. Then, he will report results of a program of research on performance of expert mnemonists and report research on some of the top mnemonists of our time using a standard battery of tests. The talk concludes with a discussion of the varieties of superior memory performance of people in many different sorts of tasks – solving crossword puzzles, knowing huge amounts of trivia, remembering verbatim large sets of Bible verses – among others.  Finally, Roediger will describe early results from a project in progress where we test different types of memory experts on a common battery of tests, seeking to find commonalities and differences in their abilities.

Deliberate memorization, the title of this graduate teaching assistant workshop, has gained credence in psychology as an area of modern research into how we utilize - not just 'use' but 'make tools of' - memory in learning. Great stuff. Welcome to campus, Dr. Roediger.

Image: An example mnemonic. See also Roy G BV, and "My Dog Has Fleas," in case you are tuning a ukulele.

 

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