3 July 2015

MEMORY- Concept and Types

It is said that education is a life long process and we are learning all the time. But simply learning without being able  to repeat that in another situation or occasion is of no use. Thus we must be able to make use of past experiences. We must be able to reproduce it. This power of reproduction is known as memory, or the ability to  retain and recall the past events to present consciousness. This implies that memory is the reproduction of past experience even without the presence of the stimulus.

Guilford: ”Memory is the retention or storage of information in any form”.
Woodworth & Marquis: ”Memory consists in learning what was previously learned”.
Ryburn: ”The power that we have to store our experience and to bring them back into the field of consciousness some time after the experience have occurred is termed as memory”.
F’iedsetal: ”Memory is the ability to retain & reproduce impressions once perceived”

Memory is the special ability of our mind to store when we learn something, to recollect &reproduce it after some time. Memory is a complex process involving learning, retention, recall & recognition. The experiences, which we undergo, leave traces in our minds in the form of 'Schemas‘. The length of our retention depends on the strength & quality of the traces.

MEMORY- Concept and Types, CTET 2015 Exam Notes, KVS, DSSSB Study Material, CTET PDF NOTES DOWNLOAD.


1.    Immediate Memory: 
This is also known as short term memory. This memory is when the individual has to reproduce immediately after he has learnt something, thus the time span is very less for the matter to be registered in the consciousness. Hence, the learnt matter is forgotten rapidly. e.g. we may first look at the seat number of our ticket & once we sit down we forget about it. In this type of memory, the retention time is very brief. Immediate memory is needed which helps us to learn a thing immediately with speed and accuracy, remember it for a short duration and forget it rapidly after use.

2.    Short-term memory: 
This type of memory is also called as temporary memory. It is not short lived as the immediate memory. The information temporarily stored in short-term memory may last as long as thirty seconds even if the material is not being rehearsed. However, some people are able to retain a lot of information in short- term memories by a process called chunking, which groups information by coding it, e.g. the number 143254376 can be remembered by listing under three heads: 143, 254, 376 for better remembering.

3.    Long term memory: 
This is also known as Permanent Memory. Here the individual learns and retains the information for a very long period of time. There is an interval of time between learning
& recall or reproduction. Thus, permanent memory is involved in remembering the account number of the bank or the phone number etc.

Other types of Memory: Some of the important types of memory are as follows.

1.  Immediate memory: Immediate memory is that which helps us to learn a thing immediately with speed and accuracy, remembering it for a short time and forgetting rapidly after use. e.g. seat number of cinema hall.

2.  Permanent memory: Permanent memory helps us to remember a thing permanently. e.g. remembering our name.

3.  Rote memory: Under rote memory, the things are learnt without understanding their meaning.

4.  Logical memory: Logical memory is based on logical thinking. It takes into consideration purposeful and insightful learning.

5.  Associated memory: The memory which helps to associate the previously learned things with so many related things and then establish multiple connections is known as associated memory.

6.  Active memory: In active memory one has to remain active and make deliberate attempts for recollecting the past experience.

7.  Passive memory: Here the past experiences are recalled spontaneously without any serious attempt

So we see that memory is a process involving learning & reproduction. The amount of material that can be immediately reproduced after one repetition is called span of memory. The phenomenon of memory may be studied under four different aspects: viz the four R‘s.
1.    Registration or Learning
2.    Retention
3.    Recall
4.    Recognition


Before remembering, it must be registered or learnt. Learning requires time. It has economical use of time in learning. The most efficient methods of learning or memorizing that would yield the best results from the point of view of remembering effectively for a long time are as follows:

A.   Rote Memorization: This is learning without understanding. Yet meaningful material is easily learnt than non-sense material. It is easier to learn poetry than prose; prose is easier to learn than disconnected words. Disconnected words are easier to learn than nonsense words. Thus logical sequence is important, along with the systematic arrangement of ideas. However, mechanical learning must be avoided as it is less effective.

B.   Spaced V/S Mass Learning: In spaced learning, the learner has been allowed some rest in memorization. The subject is not required to memorize the assignment in one continuous time period. Intervals are provided. The Principle of ‗work & rest‘ is followed. In mass learning, the subject has to memorize the assigned material at one sitting without any interval or rest, until it is mastered. Shorter study periods are better for young pupils
& slow learners. Spaced learning benefits pupils of lower classes, when motivation level is low or material is complex & difficult to understand. It is better to introduce periods of rest while studying. This helps in removing the monotony of long periods of study. Attention also does not flag and fatigue is avoided. Mass learning is effective when the pupils are very

intelligent or are highly motivated. Although, both the methods of learning are found to be useful and effective in one situation or the other, success in the use of a particular method depends more on the abilities of the individual and the nature and range of the material to be memorized than on the method itself.

C.   Whole verses Part method of learning: Let‘s take the example of a poem, when the poem is read again & again from start to finish; this is whole method of learning. This method can be adopted when the material is not very lengthy & when the material is logically arranged. Less time is used compared to part method. Here again the poem for example is broken down to parts or stanzas & then learnt, thus slow learners & average students are benefitted . The learner is motivated each time he masters the parts. Thus the whole content is slowly mastered. Even when the material is large & is not well organized, this method can be used.

D.   Recitation: The best method of learning is when by the student reads the lesson few times & then reviews the lesson without the book i.e. he recites the material learnt to him. Studies have shown that self recitation is better & time saving than just reading & re-reading because permanent retention is achieved. Learner is able to detect his weakness & rectify them. Thus he knows his progress as well.

E.   Mnemonic Devices: Grouping always helps to memorize easily, thus we learn poetry easily compared to prose, but many material come without such natural grouping. Thus artificial associations are made to associate the ideas or the material. Thus memory which is improved by use of artificial associates is called Mnemonics. Thus things are learnt verbatim without understanding it  .e.g. VIBGYOR whose letters represent the colours of the rainbow.


The process of learning involves the stage of retention. Thus learning becomes permanent. 'Retention is the inactive state of learnt activity‘. The learning activity leaves a mark on the brain structure. This mark is called a 'Memory Trace‘ which is imprinted on the Cerebral Cortex. This preservation of the memory trace in the brain is retaining of the learning activity. This can be compared to the traces or marks in the sand e.g. our footprints made on the sand. The deeper the trace, the longer the retention, while the weak traces slowly fade away.

Memory can be improved, but the depth of the trace or retention is difficult to improve by practice, the reason being the traces that are made, depend on the genetic inheritance.

Retention however can be measured in three ways:
a)  Recall b) Recognition & c) Relearning.

a)    Recall Method: Is a direct method of testing retention, where the capacity to recall & reproduce is tested. We can recall matter, only if we have retained it. e.g. in a writing a test: the pupil‘s retention & recall is tested. But sometimes we are not able to recall, even when we know the matter. So we cannot measure the retention. Therefore this is the poorest retention score of all that is learnt.

b)   Recognition Method: This method is widely used now. A response given from which the pupil has to pick out the correct answer or recognize the correct answer. This ability of recognizing the correct answer helps measure the power of retention. This has a higher score of testing retention than recall method & also puts less strain on the child e.g. multiple choice questions, or questions based on a picture or map.

c)    Relearning Method: Lets give an example ABC is learning a long poem & it takes him 20 minutes & 4 trials to memorize it. After a few days ABC again learns the poem & now in 10 minutes & two trials he learns it fully. Thus we can assume that retention has taken place because the time & the number of trials have reduced. Thus this method is the best compared to recognition & recall methods.

3.    RECALL- 

The third aspect of memory is recall. We learn because we need to recall them at some point of time or other. So we can say that recall is the mental revival of past experiences. It is the least index of retention because we are unable to remember even though we know it. Recall depends on the mental condition & the memory trace formed.


Recall & recognition are closely related. Recall provides the material in memory, while recognition is the process of accepting or rejecting. Recognition is better than recall as an index of retention. Recognition starts with the object given whereas recalls find the object from the mind. Thus, when we meet a person, recognize that person‘s face, but may not be able to recall his name. Recognition is more a passive behavior than an active process like recall.

1) Recall is the revival of the past the experiences.
1) Recognition is  the perception &  identification  of an object
2)  The process begins in the mind.
2)  The  process  begins  from the object
3)  It is an active mental process
3)            It             is             a              passive                mental process
4) It is the least index of measuring retention.
4)            It             is             a              High                index     of measuring retention.
e.g. short answer type questions involves recall
e.g. Multiple choice questions, see the picture & recognize the answer. etc involve recognition

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