Until recently, superb memory was thought to be the confines of persons otherwise thought to be geniuses. The general assumption was that individuals were bequeathed with this ability at birth and hence highly adored by interested admirers. Developments in modern science and a better understanding of brain functionality, however, would later dispel these axioms with the consensus being that strategies could be developed to improve memory. It is commonplace for one to enter a room and completely forget why they went there in the first place. Such is an indication of poor memory that may warrant the application of memory strategies. These techniques would require the subject to follow a set of instructions on how to develop a higher capacity for retaining knowledge and ultimately improving their memory (Brown, Roediger, & McDaniel, 2014). Memory is crucial to our being since there are numerous daily challenges that can be managed promptly using information that had already been stored. The purpose of this research paper is thus to explore cognitive mapping and mnemonics as and their positive effects in an individual’s life.
Just like any other animal species on the planet, human beings have evolved to a point where they are able to master their environment in a bid to maximize potential. This level of mastery has largely been made available by cognitive mapping. An individual is able to develop a sketch of an area that they are familiar with so as to have an easier time maneuvering in the near future. In reality, this was a change that took place in the evolutionary plane as a result of challenges that early man was going through on a day to day basis. Danger was always lurking in the corner, which was why it was extremely necessary that a cognitive map is developed to avoid falling into an old trap. It was this primitive mammalian response that was responsible for the permeation of species across the globe since it had been strengthened to a specialized level, allowing for the formation of a stronger power of retention (Coon, 2010, p. 67). Moreover, successive amplification of this particular segment meant that human beings had a rough layout of the expanse surrounding them and could make a better choice. The survival and success of the species solely depended on these cognitive maps since they essentially served as a blueprint of whatever it was that surrounding them.
Numerous benefits have, over the years, accrued from using cognitive mapping as a memory strategy. These benefits often take the dimension of everyday capabilities that the average individual is able to achieve. Firstly, the said individual develops an acute sense of their present-day environment, understanding the landscape and all elements that are in it. A cognitive map that has been well developed is the reason why numerous individuals are able to travel from one point to the next without any trouble. For instance, cities represent complex mazes where a person could easily get lost, yet this rarely happens to inhabitants. Cognitive maps often function as a compass, constantly reminding that of which routes to take, areas to avoid and the direction of their destination. Secondly, human beings are able to make rough estimates of the distance that they would have to travel at any given point courtesy of their cognitive maps. Orientation problems are solved since that hippocampus is especially suited for this function making it quite easy to go about one’s business. The absence of this cognitive map would mean that the body would have to undergo an immense level of stress since a rough estimate of distances that were to be traveled could not be actually be made.
Mnemonics are some of the most common memory devices, often due to its ease of execution and subsequent effectiveness. Nevertheless, the general idea behind this technique is to ensure that individuals develop better retention and retrieval capacity. The encoding used is elaborate in its description to make certain that the subject is able to follow retrieval cues when required to comprehend its meaning. Mnemonics have been hailed as an artificial method that has allowed individuals to improve their memory retention capacity even in cases where it initially deteriorated. They usually take different forms, with music, name, expression, model, ode, note organization, image, connection and spelling mnemonics being most common (Goswami, 2011). The overall idea is to develop a witty technique that makes it quite easy for an individual to remember a particular set of information. The human brain usually has the capacity of recalling all vital information that an individual acquires, but a lack of willpower usually means that persons are unable to recall any of it. Information that had been acquired a while back is now easily accessible since the neural pathways are strengthened through this particular technique. These patterns are distinct and soon embedded in the subject’s memory making it easier to remember a particular set of information.
The use of mnemonics in the contemporary world has been hailed as a novel discovery that has benefitted a large section of society. Some of those lucky enough to have experienced its effectiveness are patients that suffer from bouts of memory deficit. It is vital to note that memory is susceptible to changes in the conditioning of the human brain and may end up failing in the event of an ailment. Epilepsy, strokes and head injuries are conditions that have previously been found to have an adverse neurological effect on an individual and their memory. The use of mnemonics in such a scenario has proven helpful, with significant improvements being noted in such patients (Mahy, 2018, p. 43). Additionally, young children have a higher chance of developing an advanced vocabulary in contextual learning when using mnemonics. This is because their brains are usually malleable enough to allow such impressions to be made. Educators have been at the front-line with regard to its application in schools as a resource that is capable of providing an instructional sequence with maximum effectiveness. Long term memory can therefore be influenced positively since the medial temporal lobe stores more data from episodic memory.
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