Strategies For Encoding, Retention, And Retrieval
The art of encoding is crucial to the retrieval process of information from memory. Encoding is the processing of information coming into the memory system (McBride & Cutting, 2016, p.131). There are different levels of processing in order to facilitate the encoding phase while ensuring that the information that is being received will be well kept within the memory system. This, however, depends on which level of processing is being utilized. The different levels are elaborative encoding, shallow processing, deep processing, and level-of-processing effect (McBride & Cutting, 2016, p.131). During the retrieval phase, information is pulled from the memory system upon its request. There are several techniques that can aid with the encoding of information and retrieval. The following is an example of my personal experience encountering a situation where my own memory failed me.
My superiors at work decided to send me to the Service Member of the Quarter Board. This board consists of an elite group of tri-service individuals, with the highest ranking being a Master Sergeant. I am to sit before them and be graded on my performance as a soldier and my knowledge from the study guide that I was handed. They each ask four questions from each section varying from first aid, military courtesy and customs, the unit’s mission, and the code of conduct. Prior to diving into the questions, I is expected of me to know the Soldiers Creed and present myself with professionalism. My uniform is expected to meet the standards, and I am expected to march with perfection. During the preparation phase, I spent quite some time preparing myself for this event by studying the material. I studied wherever I could and with whomever was available, and I believe this is where I went wrong.
On the day of the event, I went into the room and sat before the board members as instructed. I managed to say the Soldiers Creed and execute each marching command. Following this step, I sat down and was ready to receive the questions from each board member. Even though I studied a lot and felt confident, my memory went blank. I had difficulty retrieving the information that was being requested of me at that moment. My nerves did get the best of me, and I had so much information in my mind at the moment that everything just blended together. Given the knowledge that I now have about how memory works, I believe that I experienced an interference of information during this time, and it led me to forget almost everything. I was able to answer some questions, but my memory, along with my nerves, betrayed me. Looking back, I realized that my biggest mistake was the environment that I chose to study in. I should have chosen an environment that simulated the environment of the event and studied with people who were not my own peers. This technique is known as the environmental context effect (McBride & Cutting, 2016, p.137). The environment and atmosphere of the board are stressful and challenging. The environment I studied in was a more relaxed and laid-back environment, and it did not prepare me for the actual thing. Moving forward, I would also change the way I study the material. In the future, I would utilize the testing effect technique. The testing effect consists of reviewing information by means of utilizing test aids (McBride & Cutting, 2016, p.135). For example, taking practice tests and even conducting mock boards. I believe that this is a good technique because it is an effort on my part to receive the information and later recall it. If I am able to recall the information, then that means that I am actually learning it, and I would be better prepared.
In conclusion, the manner in which information is encoded is of utmost importance in order to be successful during the retrieval process. I believe that if I had done a better job during the encoding, then I would have been successful during the retrieval phase. In addition, as far as cues go, I should have focused better on the keywords of each section. This would have helped me remember the question and hopefully the answer as well. It’s a lot of information to cover, but the keywords help narrow it down and hopefully spark something within my memory that recognizes the question in order to deliver the answer based on that cue.
McBride, D.M & Cutting, J.C. (2016). Cognitive Psychology: Theory, Process, and Methodology (130-137). Los Angeles, California: Sage Publications.
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