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I've experienced it many times with my students and also with myself. Let me illustrate with example:
When I'm teaching, I say something like this:
Gastrointenstinal Track has following sections
- Buccal Cavity
To help them remember I repeat above thing multiple times. But still they don't remember much of the list.
Alternatively instead of just saying those things (even though that's all I need my students to remember), I spoke about each of the above item for few minutes. i.e. I gave more details of about each of those things. Result is that, now my students do not remember most of the details about each of those items, but they could remember the list. Which is exactly I want.
Whats happening here? Whats the science behind it? Is there more to what I'm describing?
The first method (repeat the terms over and over) is called rote rehearsal. It's not actually a very good way to learn, though it has the benefit that it always "works" because you can always repeat a list. You may be unable to perform certain other encoding tricks such as elaborative rehearsal due to the context of the items, like a list of random words. Consider it more of a fallback than a learning strategy.
The second method (talking about the item at length) is elaborative rehearsal, which, as Cheatboy2 points out, benefits from the levels of processing effect. The deeper you know something the more "connections" you can make, which has the advantage of making things easier to remember in general and easier to remember in the context of specific, related items.
Elaborative rehearsal has the benefit of creating understanding rather than simple knowledge of a term. Buccal Cavity is just a word until you realize what it means. Once you know what it means you can additionally draw connections between related words, which, in this case, is very helpful as all the words on the list to remember are in fact connected in various ways. If you don't elaborate on the connections between them in your own memory, you won't benefit from that effect.
I suggest giving both articles (in bold) a read to understand the deeper intricacies of both, but those are the general ideas behind why elaborative rehearsal is preferred. Note that a Mnemonic device may be a more effective method of teaching lists where the list is what's important, not a deeper understanding, or where there is little to elaborate on, such as ROYGBIV to remember the colors of the rainbow.
Probably because describing each element involve a deeper process of information for your students (they have to organize their knowledge to understand what is it and how it relate to the other parts).
Look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levels-of-processing_effect
- Many people need to study cognitive psychology to get an understanding of their thought processes.
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Why Is It Important to Study Cognitive Psychology ? the fact
What is Cognitive Psychology?
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- psychology. In the 1960s, the relatively young knock started getting the following.
- After some time when the key to behaviorism was the great psychology branch.
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Brain-like cognitive computer
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- like a person with mental and psychic communication. And brings it into use. Click here (
What are the key issues in the study of cognitive psychology?
- The cognitive experiment of psychologists is the study. But how do humans get information?
- about it, in which processed studies do, how they use it, and remember it, and take the experiment?
- They are interested in creativity. And how do people solve problems? Sometimes.
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What does the field of cognitive psychology study?
- In some of the subjects, you have to study (study),
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- If you are interested in becoming a cognitive psychologist. If you deal with such issues.
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What is the main idea of cognitive psychology?
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Psychology has many branches of cognitive,
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Cognitive Psychology and Advertising
- Advertising marketing companies also use the study of the knowledge of psychology cognitive.
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Process Computer Intelligence Info
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Cognitive psychology Simply Explained. video
Examples of proposed innate knowledge [ edit | edit source ]
This article has been tagged since February 2008.
Innatism is invoked to explain how we can have knowledge of certain propositions that seem to go beyond experience, either (i) because of its universal applicability, or because (ii) its subject matter transcends experiential reality. Examples of the notions include:
- Ethical truths
- The notion of causality, that all events have a cause
- Notions of good and evil and mathematical truths notions concerning transcendent objects like God or souls
- Avoidance of hazards (such as heights or potential sources of contagious disease)
The term andragogy was originally formulated by a German teacher, Alexander Kapp, in 1833 (Nottingham Andragogy Group 1983: v). He used it to describe elements of Plato’s education theory. Andragogy (andr– meaning ‘man’) could be contrasted with pedagogy (paid- meaning ‘child’ and agogos meaning ‘leading’) (see Davenport 1993: 114). Kapp’s use of andragogy had some currency but it was disputed, and fell into disuse. It reappeared in 1921 in a report by Rosenstock in which he argued that ‘adult education required special teachers, methods and philosophy, and he used the term andragogy to refer collectively to these special requirements’ (Nottingham Andragogy Group 1983: v). Eduard Lindeman was the first writer in English to pick up on Rosenstock’s use of the term. The he only used it on two occasions. As Stewart, his biographer, comments, ‘the new term seems to have impressed itself upon no one, not even its originators’. That may have been the case in North America, but in France, Yugoslavia and Holland the term was being used extensively ‘to refer to the discipline which studies the adult education process or the science of adult education’ (Nottingham Andragogy Group 1983: v).
In the minds of many around the adult education field, andragogy and the name of Malcolm Knowles have become inextricably linked. For Knowles, andragogy is premised on at least four crucial assumptions about the characteristics of adult learners that are different from the assumptions about child learners on which traditional pedagogy is premised. A fifth was added later.
1. Self-concept: As a person matures his self concept moves from one of being a dependent personality toward one of being a self-directed human being
2. Experience: As a person matures he accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning.
3. Readiness to learn. As a person matures his readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of his social roles.
4. Orientation to learning. As a person matures his time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly his orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject-centeredness to one of problem centredness.
5. Motivation to learn: As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal (Knowles 1984:12).
Each of these assertions and the claims of difference between andragogy and pedagogy are the subject of considerable debate. Useful critiques of the notion can be found in Davenport (1993) Jarvis (1977a) Tennant (1996) (see below). Here I want to make some general comments about Knowles’ approach.
Some general issues with Knowles’ approach
First, as Merriam and Caffarella (1991: 249) have pointed out, Knowles’ conception of andragogy is an attempt to build a comprehensive theory (or model) of adult learning that is anchored in the characteristics of adult learners. Cross (1981: 248) also uses such perceived characteristics in a more limited attempt to offer a ‘framework for thinking about what and how adults learn’. Such approaches may be contrasted with those that focus on:
- an adult’s life situation (e.g. Knox 1986 Jarvis 1987a)
- changes in consciousness (e.g. Mezirow 1983 1990 or Freire 1972) (Merriam and Caffarella 1991).
Second, Knowles makes extensive use of a model of relationships derived from humanistic clinical psychology – and, in particular, the qualities of good facilitation argued for by Carl Rogers. However, Knowles adds in other elements which owe a great deal to scientific curriculum making and behaviour modification (and are thus somewhat at odds with Rogers). These encourage the learner to identify needs, set objectives, enter learning contracts and so on. In other words, he uses ideas from psychologists working in two quite different and opposing therapeutic traditions (the humanist and behavioural traditions). This means that there is a rather dodgy deficit model lurking around this model.
Third, it is not clear whether this is a theory or set of assumptions about learning, or a theory or model of teaching (Hartree 1984). We can see something of this in relation to the way he has defined andragogy as the art and science of helping adults learn as against pedagogy as the art and science of teaching children. There is an inconsistency here.
Hartree (1984) raises a further problem. Has Knowles provided us with a theory or a set of guidelines for practice? The assumptions ‘can be read as descriptions of the adult learner… or as prescriptive statements about what the adult learner should be like’ (Hartree 1984 quoted in Merriam and Caffarella 1991: 250). This links with the point made by Tennant – there seems to be a failure to set and interrogate these ideas within a coherent and consistent conceptual framework. As Jarvis (1987b) comments, throughout his writings there is a propensity to list characteristics of a phenomenon without interrogating the literature of the arena (e.g. as in the case of andragogy) or looking through the lens of a coherent conceptual system. Undoubtedly he had a number of important insights, but because they are not tempered by thorough analysis, they were a hostage to fortune – they could be taken up in an ahistorical or atheoretical way.
The assumptions explored
With these things in mind we can look at the assumptions that Knowles makes about adult learners:
1. Self-concept: As a person matures his self concept moves from one of being a dependent personality toward one of being a self-directed human being.The point at which a person becomes an adult, according to Knowles, psychologically, ‘is that point at which he perceives himself to be wholly self-directing. And at that point he also experiences a deep need to be perceived by others as being self-directing’ (Knowles 1983: 56). As Brookfield (1986) points out, there is some confusion as to whether self-direction is meant here by Knowles to be an empirically verifiable indicator of adulthood. He does say explicitly that it is an assumption. However, there are some other immediate problems:
- both Erikson and Piaget have argued that there are some elements of self-directedness in children’s learning (Brookfield 1986: 93). Children are not dependent learners for much of the time, ‘quite the contrary, learning for them is an activity which is natural and spontaneous’ (Tennant 1988: 21). It may be that Knowles was using ‘self-direction’ in a particular way here or needed to ask a further question – ‘dependent or independent with respect to what?’
- the concept is culturally bound – it arises out of a particular (humanist) discourse about the self which is largely North American in its expression. This was looked at last week – and will be returned to in future weeks.
2. Experience: As a person matures he accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource for learning. The next step is the belief that adults learn more effectively through experiential techniques of education such as discussion or problem solving (Knowles 1980: 43). The immediate problem we have is the unqualified way in which the statement is made. There may be times when experiential learning is not appropriate – such as when substantial amounts of new information is required. We have to ask the question, what is being learnt, before we can make judgements.
A second aspect here is whether children’s and young people’s experiences are any less real or less rich than those of adults. They may not have the accumulation of so many years, but the experiences they have are no less consuming, and still have to be returned to, entertained, and made sense of. Does the fact that they have ‘less’ supposed experience make any significant difference to the process? A reading of Dewey (1933) and the literature on reflection (e.g. Boud et al 1985) would support the argument that age and amount of experience makes no educational difference. If this is correct, then the case for the distinctiveness of adult learning is seriously damaged. This is of fundamental significance if, as Brookfield (1986: 98) suggests, this second assumption of andragogy ‘can arguably lay claim to be viewed as a “given” in the literature of adult learning’.
3. Readiness to learn. As a person matures his readiness to learn becomes oriented increasingly to the developmental tasks of his social roles.As Tennant (1988: 21-22) puts it, ‘it is difficult to see how this assumption has any implication at all for the process of learning, let alone how this process should be differentially applied to adults and children’. Children also have to perform social roles.
Knowles does, however, make some important points at this point about ‘teachable’ moments. The relevance of study or education becomes clear as it is needed to carry out a particular task. At this point more ground can be made as the subject seems relevant.
However, there are other problems. These appear when he goes on to discuss the implications of the assumption. ‘Adult education programs, therefore, should be organised around ‘life application’ categories and sequenced according to learners readiness to learn’ (1980: 44)
First, as Brookfield comments, these two assumptions can easily lead to a technological interpretation of learning that is highly reductionist. By this he means that things can become rather instrumental and move in the direction of competencies. Language like ‘life application’ categories reeks of skill-based models – where learning is reduced to a series of objectives and steps (a product orientation). We learn things that are useful rather than interesting or intriguing or because something fills us with awe. It also thoroughly underestimates just how much we learn for the pleasure it brings (see below).
Second, as Humphries (1988) has suggested, the way he treats social roles – as worker, as mother, as friend, and so on, takes as given the legitimacy of existing social relationships. In other words, there is a deep danger of reproducing oppressive forms.
4. Orientation to learning. As a person matures his time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly his orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject-centeredness to one of problem centredness. This is not something that Knowles sees as ‘natural’ but rather it is conditioned (1984: 11). It follows from this that if young children were not conditioned to be subject-centred then they would be problem-centred in their approach to learning. This has been very much the concern of progressives such as Dewey. The question here does not relate to age or maturity but to what may make for effective teaching. We also need to note here the assumption that adults have a greater wish for immediacy of application. Tennant (1988: 22) suggests that a reverse argument can be made for adults being better able to tolerate the postponed application of knowledge.
Last, Brookfield argues that the focus on competence and on ‘problem-centredness’ in Assumptions 3 and 4 undervalues the large amount of learning undertaken by adults for its innate fascination. ‘[M]uch of adults’ most joyful and personally meaningful learning is undertaken with no specific goal in mind. It is unrelated to life tasks and instead represents a means by which adults can define themselves’ (Brookfield 1986: 99).
5. Motivation to learn: As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal (Knowles 1984:12).Again, Knowles does not see this as something ‘natural’ but as conditioned – in particular, through schooling. This assumption sits awkwardly with the view that adults’ readiness to learn is ‘the result of the need to perform (externally imposed) social roles and that adults have a problem-centred (utilitarian) approach to learning’ (Tennant 1988: 23).
In sum it could be said that these assumptions tend to focus on age and stage of development. As Ann Hanson (1996: 102) has argued, this has been at the expense of questions of purpose, or of the relationship between individual and society
Andragogy and pedagogy
As we compare Knowles’ versions of pedagogy and andragogy what we can see is a mirroring of the difference between what is known as the romantic and the classical curriculum (although this is confused by the introduction of behaviourist elements such as the learning contract). As Jarvis (1985) puts it, perhaps even more significantly is that for Knowles ‘education from above’ is pedagogy, while ‘education of equals’ is andragogy. As a result, the contrasts drawn are rather crude and do not reflect debates within the literature of curriculum and pedagogy.
A comparison of the assumptions of pedagogy and andragogy following Knowles (Jarvis 1985: 51)
|The learner||Dependent. Teacher directs what, when, how a subject is learned and tests that it has been learned||Moves towards independence. Self-directing. Teacher encourages and nurtures this movement|
|The learner’s experience||Of little worth. Hence teaching methods are didactic||A rich resource for learning. Hence teaching methods include discussion, problem-solving etc.|
|Readiness to learn||People learn what society expects them to. So that the curriculum is standardized.||People learn what they need to know, so that learning programmes organised around life application.|
|Orientation to learning||Acquisition of subject matter. Curriculum organized by subjects.||Learning experiences should be based around experiences, since people are performance centred in their learning|
We need to be extremely cautious about claiming that there is anything distinctive about andragogy. In his reference to romantic and classic notions of curriculum Jarvis (1985) brings out that what lies behind these formulations are competing conceptualizations of education itself. Crucially, these are not directly related to the age or social status of learners. There are various ways of categorizing strands of educational thinking and practice – and they are somewhat more complex than Knowles’ setting of pedagogy against andragogy. In North American education debates, for example, four main forces can be identified in the twentieth century: the liberal educators the scientific curriculum makers the developmental/person-centred and the social meliorists (those that sought more radical social change) (after Kliebart 1987). Another way of looking at these categories (although not totally accurate) is as those who see curriculum as:
Viewed in this way – Knowles’ version of pedagogy looks more like transmission and andragogy, as represented in the chart, like process. But as we have seen, he mixes in other elements – especially some rather mechanistic assumptions and ideas which can be identified with scientific curriculum making.
Andragogy – the continuing debate
By 1984 Knowles had altered his position on the distinction between pedagogy and andragogy. The child-adult dichotomy became less marked. He claimed, as above, that pedagogy was a content model and andragogy a process model but the same criticisms apply concerning his introduction of behaviourist elements. He even added the fifth assumption: As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal (1984: 12). Yet while there have been these shifts, the tenor of his work, as Jarvis (1987b) argues, still seems to suggest that andragogy is related to adult learning and pedagogy to child learning.
There are those, like Davenport (1993) or the Nottingham Andragogy Group (1983) who believe it is possible to breathe life into the notion of andragogy – but they tend to founder on the same point. Kidd, in his study of how adults learn said the following:
[W]hat we describe as adult learning is not a different kind or order from child learning. Indeed our main point is that man must be seen as a whole, in his lifelong development. Principles of learning will apply, in ways that we shall suggest to all stages in life. The reason why we specify adults throughout is obvious. This is the field that has been neglected, not that of childhood. (Kidd 1978: 17)
If Kidd is correct then the search for andragogy is pointless. There is no basis in the characteristics of adult learners upon which to construct a comprehensive theory. Andragogy can be seen as an idea that gained popularity in at a particular moment – and its popularity probably says more about the ideological times (Jarvis 1995: 93) than it does about learning processes.
Further reading and references
Here I have listed the main texts proposing ‘andragogy’ – and inevitably it is the work of Malcolm Knowles that features.
Knowles, M. (1980) The Modern Practice of Adult Education. From pedagogy to andragogy (2nd edn). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall/Cambridge. 400 pages. Famous as a revised edition of Knowles’ statement of andragogy – however, there is relatively little sustained exploration of the notion. In many respects a ‘principles and practice text’. Part one deals with the emerging role and technology of adult education (the nature of modern practice, the role and mission of the adult educator, the nature of andragogy). Part 2 deals organizing and administering comprehensive programmes (climate and structure in the organization, assessing needs and interests, defining purpose and objectives, program design, operating programs, evaluation). Part three is entitled ‘helping adults learn and consists of a chapter concerning designing and managing learning activities. There are around 150 pages of appendices containing various exhibits – statements of purpose, evaluation materials, definitions of andragogy.
Knowles, M. et al (1984) Andragogy in Action. Applying modern principles of adult education, San Francisco: Jossey Bass. A collection of chapters examining different aspects of Knowles’ formulation.
Knowles, M. S. (1990) The Adult Learner. A neglected species (4e), Houston: Gulf Publishing. First appeared in 1973. 292 + viii pages. Surveys learning theory, andragogy and human resource development (HRD). The section on andragogy has some reflection on the debates concerning andragogy. Extensive appendices which includes planning checklists,policy statements and some articles by Knowles – creating lifelong learning communities, from teacher to facilitator etc.
Nottingham Andragogy Group (1983) Towards a Developmental Theory of Andragogy, Nottingham: University of Nottingham Department of Adult Education. 48 pages. Brief review of the andragogy debate to that date. Section 1 deals with adult development section 2 with the empirical and theoretical foundations for a theory of andragogy and section 3 proposes a model and theory.
Some critiques of the notion of andragogy – and more particularly the work of Knowles can be found in:
Davenport (1993) ‘Is there any way out of the andragogy mess?’ in M. Thorpe, R. Edwards and A. Hanson (eds.) Culture and Processes of Adult Learning, London Routledge. (First published 1987).
Jarvis, P. (1987a) ‘Malcolm Knowles’ in P. Jarvis (ed.) Twentieth Century Thinkers in Adult Education, London: Croom Helm.
Tennant, M. (1988, 1996) Psychology and Adult Learning, London: Routledge.
Boud, D. et al (1985) Reflection. Turning experience into learning, London: Kogan Page.
Brookfield, S. D. (1986) Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning. A comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practice, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Cross, K. P. (1981) Adults as Learners. Increasing participation and facilitating learning (1992 edn.), San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Dewey, J. (1933) How We Think, New York: D. C. Heath.
Hanson, A. (1996) ‘The search for separate theories of adult learning: does anyone really need andragogy?’ in Edwards, R., Hanson, A., and Raggatt, P. (eds.) Boundaries of Adult Learning. Adult Learners, Education and Training Vol. 1, London: Routledge.
Humphries, B. (1988) ‘Adult learning in social work education: towards liberation or domestication’. Critical Social Policy No. 23 pp.4-21.
Jarvis, P. (1985) The Sociology of Adult and Continuing Education, Beckenham: Croom Helm.
Kidd, J. R. (1978) How Adults Learn (3rd. edn.),Englewood Cliffs, N.J.:Prentice Hall Regents.
Kliebart, H. M. (1987) The Struggle for the American Curriculum 1893-1958, New York : Routledge.
Merriam, S. B. and Caffarella, R. S. (1991)Learning in Adulthood. A comprehensive guide, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The Metaphysics of Psychology as Science of Mind and Behavior
This refers to the metaphysics implicit in ontological and epistemological philosophical assumptions which still rule in psychology. Adoption of the positivist scientific method of the natural sciences did not free it from philosophical problems, as already warned by Wundt (Lamiell 2013). The supposed aseptic methods of empirical research as the typical distinction between “dependent / independent variables” have their implicit metaphysics beginning with the axiomatic acceptance of linear causality (Valsiner and Brinkmann 2016). "There is no escape from philosophy—Jaspers says—. The question is only whether [a philosophy] is good or bad, muddled or clear. Anyone who rejects philosophy is himself unconsciously practicing a philosophy" (Jaspers 1954/2003, p. 12).
Dualistic Ontology: Mental Processes and Behavior as Inner/Outer Dichotomy
Even when a duality does not imply dualism, in the case of the mind and behavior in the definition of psychology, it entails traditional dualism no matter how much it is dressed in new terms and metaphors. The Cartesian dualism does not find better version than in “the view of mind like software running on a physical hardware” (Everett 2016, p. 37). The definition of psychology as the “scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes” (American Psychological Association 2016 Gerrig 2014, p. 2) means at least an inner-outer dichotomy. While behavior refers to observable, factual activities in the outside world, mental processes refer to cognitive or neurocognitive activities that occur in the subject’s interior, in his mind, cognitive system or brain (Schacter et al. 2015 Westerman and Steen 2007).
It might be said that mental processes associated with neural processes may be observable depending on whether evermore refined technologies are available. But this would only pose new questions, beginning with the problem of their connection, which Descartes believed to already have resolved with the pineal gland. Turning psychological realities into physicochemical realities would also be a problem of reductionism and the consequent mereological fallacy of explaining what the whole does through one of its parts (Bennett and Hacker 2003) or the double-subject fallacy “me” and “my brain” (Mudrik and Maoz 2014). Even if behavior is an indispensable reference, a basic dualism still persists between two substances: a mental, incorporeal, unobservable, hypothetical, latent and another behavioral, material, topographical, observable. The most conspicuous example of mental substance today consists of the so-called cognitive processes as information processing.
Cognitive processes are mental activities postulated by cognitive psychology as top-down and bottom-up, cognitive routines, change-of-task modules, and many others, some of which are already popular, such as central executive and working memory. This renewed conception of the mind does not avoid old well-known problems such as the argument of the homunculus which consists in attributing to a sort of “inner man” what in reality makes the individual as a whole, categorical error by which an activity which is characteristically behavioral is explained by categories of a different order, for example computational or neurophysiological or the ghost in the machine as if a “cognitive demon” working on the inside produced results on the outside (Bennett and Hacker 2003 Holt 2001 Mudrik and Maoz 2014 Logan and Bundesen 2004 Weger and Wagemann 2015a). All these first-cousin problems come to a head in the basic problem: revived dualism. On one hand, the world would be converted into information and on the other into a mental representation. Within would be the cognitive processes or mental “activities”, and outside, the behavioral activities themselves, so that cognitive or mental processes would be duplications of the world and of the behavioral activity itself.
This mental duplication or representation, as much as it is conceived in already familiar terms of processing, computation, codification, storage, recovery, is nonetheless a version of the mind in a tradition that goes from Descartes to Kant. The mind as the construction of representations of the world according to the conception due to Kant has become common sense and the vision dominant in academic psychology (Packer 2011, p. 143). However, a representational approach is not inevitable. A long tradition from Vygotsky and Gestalt psychology to the ecological psychology of Gibson shows a whole variety of holistic approaches beyond the interior-exterior dichotomy (Westerman and Steen 2007). In the mental or cognitive terms themselves, non-representational alternatives may be found in terms of situated-cognition or extended mind – embodied and embedded in the world (Clark 2008 Gallagher and Crisafi 2009 Rowlands 2010 Thompson 2007).
Dualistic Epistemology: Dichotomies of the Scientific Method
By antonomasia, the scientific method in psychology is a positivist empirical-rational method taken from the natural sciences (Danziger 1990, p. 41) and which Popper systematized as the “logic of scientific research.” The scientist, according to Popper, constructs hypotheses – or theory systems – and compares them with experience by means of observations and experiments (Popper 1934/2002). Thus the “way to think straight about psychology” follows the order: formulate hypotheses or predictions based on prior research, test, get closer to the truth and new approaches (Stanovich 2012). The problem is that the scientific method of psychology as a natural science, far from freeing it from philosophical problems, harbors an entire implicit metaphysics expressed in a number of dichotomies (Bishop 2007 Mascolo 2016 Slife et al. 2012 Valsiner and Brinkmann 2016 Yela 1987 ), of which three are referred to here: subject/object, theory/method and facts/values.
The subject/object dichotomy consists of a naïf realism on one hand: the properties of objects perceived as inherent to the objects themselves (Walsh et al. 2014, p. 34) and on the other, traditional mentalism: the mind as a mirror of nature (Rorty 1979). This dualism assumes that there is a reality out there to be discovered (the truth) and a method for doing so (the scientific method) so that the result is objective knowledge (accumulative, replicable). The problem is that the objects in psychology are interactive subjects, not a disinterested, indifferent reality-out there. It refers to the fundamental distinction of the philosophy of science between natural entities and interactive entities (Bishop 2007 Hacking 1999 Walsh et al. 2014, p. 474). Natural entities are fixed realities, there-given, such as electrons, chemicals, minerals, animal species or planets, indifferent to our classifications and interpretations of them. As Alan Chalmers says: “The planets do not change their motions in the light of our theories about those motions.” (Chalmers 2013, p. 137).
Interactive entities, typically human beings, however, far from being indifferent, are susceptible to influence by their classification and interpretation. This interactive nature is based on humans as interpretive and self-interpretive beings, not just scientists. The way we are in-the-world already implies some prior understanding or interpretation of the world around us (Guignon 2012 Taylor 1985). We already know about the world before discussing and theorizing about it when it appears to us as habitable, friendly, comfortable, gratifying, harsh, hostile, threatening or unsafe. The world is given us “interpreted” somehow, regardless of our awareness as interpreters. Before a child has “theory of the mind” he/she already has intersubjective, perspective, interactive and empathetic understanding (Gallagher and Zahavi 2008). More specifically, interactive entities, typically the human psychological categories, are characterized by three criteria (Walsh et al. 2014, p. 475): 1) They are socially constituted, having had no existence before social life, 2) there is a looping effect (Hacking 1995), or reactivity, which falls back on itself (e.g., the reaction of individuals to the classifications assigned to them), and 3) they are value-loaded.
The theory/method dichotomy assumes that there is a theory – constructs, hypothesis – which can be tested using an objective, independent method, which is available out there. However, it may be questioned whether this kind of independence even occurs in physics. As Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg says:
The interaction between theory and experiment is complicated. It is not that theories come first and then experimentalists confirm them, or that experimentalists make discoveries that are then explained by theories. Theory and experiment often go on at the same time, strongly influencing each other. (Weinberg 1995, p. 11).
In the behavioral sciences, method is theory-loaded, even if only to assume that psychological phenomena are a certain way and can be studied with a certain method (Bishop 2007, p. 50).
In fact, “scientific method” does not really exist as something in itself, universal. What does exist is the “scientific method discourse”. The discourse of scientific method was established to serve two purposes: Mark the limits between what is science and what is not, and give scientific knowledge status in society, particularly in research funding agencies and as reliable evidence in courts of law (Andersen and Hepburn 2015 Haack 2010). Delimitation and status are especially relevant in medicine with regard to alternative medicine and in psychology, which claims to be a natural science. Far from autonomy as something neutral, the “scientific method” is not exempt from theory: interpretations and subjective judgments. As in subjective tests, the “scientific method” is still equally subjective, as experimental researchers have already made a judgment at one time about what it is important to study. According to Slife and Gantt:
The only difference between so-called objective and subjective tests is the time at which subjective judgments are rendered, with judgments for objective tests rendered before the test and judgments for the subjective tests rendered after the test. This distinction is analogous to so-called objective and subjective methods of science. […] Similar to objective tests in education, experimenters have simply decided beforehand how they intend to subjectively carry out their studies and defend their findings. (Slife and Gantt 1999, p. 1459).
Its existence as “discourse” rather than true “method” can be seen in scientific publications. The typical IMRAD format (Introduction, Method, Results, Analysis, Discussion) is more a retrospective reconstruction than a reflection of research, which has no single standard model. As the 1963 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, Peter Medawar, said in reference to biomedical research, scientific papers do not reflect how the results are produced, leading to understand (fraudulently) that they follow a hypothetical-deductive logic (Howitt and Wilson 2014 Medawar 1996). With regard to psychology, the phenomenon has been defined as HARKing (Hypothesizing After the Results are Known) and consists of (re)formulating the hypothesis after the results are known (Kerr 1998).
The facts/values dichotomy forms part of the objectivism which impregnates positivist conceptions of the social sciences, assuming that scientific knowledge is a matter of facts, not values. This dichotomy is a correlate of the subject/object dichotomy where it is assumed that there is a reality of facts out there, like the theory/method dichotomy, but in this case it assumes an objective method which deals directly with data. However, the facts themselves are not independent of theory and methods of research, beginning with the reasons such facts are relevant and merit study (Packer and Addison 1989). Facts exempt from this could only be imagined from a conception which takes itself as a natural, positivist-methodologist science. From a conception of psychology as the dialectical-contextual science of being human, there would be no situation indifferent to values, without ethical implications. According to Pedersen and Bang,
There is no non-existential situation a situation in which a person takes part always has existential qualities. There is always a core dimension of importance there is no such thing as a neutral situation indifferent to values in a person’s life. (Pedersen and Bang 2016, p. 473, emphasis in original).
Without denying that there are real facts, what is affirmed is that they are real facts for something and someone, not exempt or indifferent.
Overcoming the “Psychological Complex” of the Method in Favor of Complexity of Psychology
Psychology adopted the positivist “scientific method” to enroll as a natural science. This strategy contributed to its institutional prestige, but did not free it from dualistic metaphysics as has been shown. The “scientific method” is not used in the natural sciences because in fact it does not exist as anything but the “discourse” argued in the social and health sciences. As Weinberg says with regard to physics:
We do not have a fixed scientific method to rally round and defend. I remember that I spoke years ago to a high-school teacher who explained proudly that in her classes they were trying to get away from teaching just scientific facts and instead give the students an idea of what the scientific method was. I replied that I had no idea what the scientific method was, and I thought she ought to teach her students scientific facts. […] I think it does no good for scientists to pretend that we have a clear a priori idea of the scientific method. (Weinberg 1995, p. 8, 10).
When “science as it is done” is studied in a biology laboratory, the research attitude does not consist of applying the “scientific method” or the findings that come from it, but in an often handcrafted practical material construction process, including operations, equipment, discussions and arguments (Latour and Woolgar 1979–1986). The testimony of James Watson in his book, The Double Helix, in which he tells about the discovery of the structure of DNA, shows that the process of discovery was anything but straightforward. As he says in the preface:
As I hope this book will show, science seldom proceeds in the straightforward logical manner imagined by outsiders. Instead, its steps forward (and sometimes backward) are often very human events in which personalities and cultura1 traditions play major roles. […] I believe, there remains general ignorance about how science is "done." That is not to say that all science is done in the manner described here. This is far from the case, for styles of scientific research vary almost as much as human personalities. On the other hand, I do not believe that the way DNA came out constitutes an odd exception to a scientific world complicated by the contradictory pulls of ambition and the sense of fair play. (Watson 1968, Preface).
Skinner’s case is notable in psychology. Far from being a positivist (Smith 1986), Skinner offers a radical criticism of the methodologism governing the psychology of the mid-twentieth century represented by methodological behaviorism according to his own distinction with regard to his radical behaviorism (Skinner 1945), when he describes his “case within the scientific method” (Skinner 1956). In his explanation of his “scientific behavior”, Skinner ridicules the scientific method typically hypothetic-deductive, when he discusses his methodological principles, “When you run onto something interesting, drop everything else and study it”, “Some ways of doing research are easier than others”, “Some people are lucky”, and “Apparatuses sometimes break down” (Skinner 1956). As he says,
I never faced a Problem which was more than the eternal problem of finding order. I never attacked a problem by constructing a Hypothesis. I never deduced Theorems or submitted them to Experimental Check. So far as I can see, I had no preconceived Model of behavior—certainly not a physiological or mentalistic one, and, I believe, not a conceptual one. (Skinner 1956, p. 227).
As you will recall, Skinner’s “radical” behaviorism means “total” in the sense in which a psychology which prides itself in being a science should not leave anything out for methodological reasons, precisely as methodological behaviorism does when it rejects private events (feelings, thoughts) as unobservable, to later reintroduce them as intermediate variables and hypothetical constructs. To Skinner, private events can and must be studied “in their own right” (not as hypotheses), because they are observable, with the particularity of being so for a single person: oneself. The question for Skinner is then to study how society (“verbal community”) manages to teach one, starting with children, to account for the subjective world (“private world”). The question lies, has its roots, another sense of radical, in the language (“verbal behavior”). The subjective world has its roots in the verbal community through language. To Skinner, development of the private world and verbal behavior are contemporary (Skinner 1945).
With the scientific method, a certain “psychological complex” in psychology might be spoken of, in which the fear of not being seen as science leads it to fixation with method as if that were something in itself. In fact, “scientific method” is a term that should be avoided as inaccurate and misleading (Lilienfeld et al. 2015). Instead, methodological pluralism is proposed (Slife and Gantt 1999), beginning with the framework of a pluralistic ontology.
How does knowledge about a subject aid in its recall? - Psychology
What, if anything, can knowledge gleaned from cognitive psychology do for classroom teachers? I have heard the gamut of opinions on this subject, from “Anyone who is not a teacher cannot tell teachers anything of value” to “Cognitive science is going to save American education.” (The former opinion was expressed by a teacher the latter by a college president.)
Let me make explicit what, in my view, results from cognitive psychology can and cannot do for teachers.
As I have described elsewhere, education is an artificial science. The goal of natural sciences is a description of the world as it is. For example, physicists seek to describe the nature of the physical world cognitive psychologists seek to describe the workings of the mind. The goal of artificial sciences is to make the world more like it should be. For example, a civil engineer designs a bridge an educator devises an effective curriculum to teach reading.
Artificial sciences draw on natural sciences. The civil engineer who wishes to build a bridge will draw on principles of physics in his design. These laws are neither necessary nor sufficient for the engineer. They are not necessary because effective bridges were built before the laws of classical mechanics were described. And they are not sufficient. The laws of physics don’t dictate how a bridge should be designed—but they tell you what the performance of the bridge will be if the design is carried out. Then too, physics can only tell the engineer whether the bridge will carry a load—it cannot tell him or her whether a design is attractive, or cost effective, and so forth. Physics pertains to just one aspect of bridge-building, although it is a decisive one.
Although knowledge of physics is not necessary nor sufficient to the engineer, it is obviously useful because it allows the engineer to speculate on new designs and to calculate with confidence whether the planned design will stay up and carry a particular load.
The relationship of cognitive psychology to classroom teaching is like the relationship of physics to engineering. Knowledge of the mind gleaned from cognitive psychology experiments will not tell teachers how to teach children, any more than knowledge of physics can prescribe what a bridge should look like.
At its best, cognitive psychology can describe principles by which the mind operates, as guidelines for practice. For it to serve that goal, three problems must be overcome.
Problem #1: Laboratory conditions do not apply in the classroom. Cognitive psychologists study individual mental processes in isolation, but all of the mental processes operate simultaneously in the classroom. That means that generalizations one might draw about an individual process that are perfectly valid when all of the others are controlled might not be true when all of the other processes are free to vary. For example, in the laboratory, creating mental images while one reads a story helps one remember the story later. But creating mental images is attention-demanding and often not terribly interesting. What would its impact be on motivation? If a teacher asked students to create mental images as they read a story, would it really help them remember it? Or would it make students more likely to lose the thread of the plot and stop reading altogether? Then too, classrooms are still more complex because they include not just the mind of each student: there is the social dynamic of multiple students as well as the teacher.
Problem #2: Is the effect worth bothering about? Even if an effect transferred from the laboratory to the classroom, the teacher would want to be sure that it was worth his or her time to implement. In other words, it should have a reasonably large impact on learning. For example, researchers have examined whether or not memory is improved when people try to remember things in the same place that they learned them. Researchers have found that this effect if it exists at all is quite small, and thus it is likely not worth a teacher’s time to think about it.
Problem #3: Teachers already know some of what cognitive psychology might tell them. For example, there is a sizable research literature on the relationship of attention and memory, and this literature has led to some understanding of the mechanisms of each. But teachers already know the key fact for the classroom: attention is essential for learning. Similarly, I could trace the biochemistry of glucose utilization and its impact on cognitive function but how many teachers don’t know that a hungry child can’t learn? It might be interesting and gratifying for a teacher’s own interest to learn what is known about the mechanisms behind these effects, but when it comes to classroom practice, there is nothing that will broaden the teachers’ perspective in some way.
Are there cognitive principles that (1) are true all the time, not just under certain laboratory conditions (2) have a sizable effect on thinking and (3) offer the hope of changing practice?
After several years of thinking about this problem, I collected nine principles that I think meet these criteria, and I published them in a book, Why Don’t Students Like School? A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for Your Classroom. Some examples of the principles: children are more alike than different in terms of how they learn, factual knowledge is intertwined with thinking skills, novices should not be taught to use the methods that experts use. I won’t review the book further here—I posted six extracts at the Core Knowledge Blog during the week of March 23
In the book I elaborate on these principles, and also make some suggestions as to how they might influence classroom practice. But again, I don’t take these principles to be prescriptive. First, the cognitive element is an important one in the classroom, but it is not the only element. There is an emotional element, a motivational element, a social element. Second, principles from natural science are never prescriptive for artificial sciences. I am a psychologist, and I know the laboratory. Teachers know classrooms.
But I do take these principles seriously. If someone—even a teacher, who knows the classroom—suggests they can be violated, I would greet that assertion with a good deal of suspicion. There are a few cognitive principles that are well enough understood and broadly applicable that, if violated, predict that a bridge will collapse.
How Important is Subject Matter Knowledge for a Teacher?
It seems obvious that, if you are going to teach a subject, then you should really know a lot about the subject, right? Certainly in high schools, where teachers often specialise into one or two subject areas, there is a real emphasis on the subject matter knowledge of the teacher - which is why, the claim goes, that if you want to teach history, you should first learn a lot about history, and if you want to teach mathematics, then you should get a degree in mathematics.
One Chapter Ahead of the Students…
It is surprising, then, that there is relatively little evidence supporting this claim. Instead, it seems as if it has been accepted as a truism by many educators, and not investigated further - it is just a ‘given’. What evidence there is, however, suggests that there is much less correlation between teacher subject knowledge and student achievement than one might reasonably expect. John Hattie, a New Zealand education academic, identified that subject matter knowledge was really only a minor consideration in student achievement. Hattie conducted a meta-analysis of more than 1000 educational studies which identified 138 different factors that influenced student learning. The required effect size for a student to make a year’s progress was 0.4. According to Hattie, teacher subject-matter knowledge had an effect size of 0.19, meaning that it was far less effective than other factors like classroom management (0.52) or effective teacher feedback (0.75).
It would be easy to conclude, based on Hattie’s work, that subject matter knowledge is unimportant, and that teachers can teach with abandon outside their subject area. This kind of argument is not completely unfamiliar to elementary or primary school teachers, who are often required to be generalists - and often acknowledge that they don’t have the same level of subject knowledge as high school teachers. In this case, teachers can afford to be one topic ahead of the students in their teaching.
Not so Fast…
Of course, as with many other things in education, the answer is much more complicated than that. Hattie revisited this topic in a later book, Visible Learning for Teachers (2011) where he discussed the fact that expert teachers can make use of their subject knowledge to organise and use content knowledge more effectively for their students to understand. In addition, expert teachers are more likely to be able to respond to the needs of any particular classroom, recognising students who are struggling and changing the way the information is presented in order to make it more understandable.
There have also been criticisms of Hattie’s work - some of which focus on the fact that educators have interpreted his work by isolating independent factors in education and elevating them above others. In other words, to use the example above, schools should focus all their effort on effective feedback and classroom management, and not worry about teacher subject knowledge. Of course, such an approach wold ignore the complex interplay of variables that take place in an educational setting. To continue our example: for a teacher to provide effective feedback (rather than the too-often deployed ‘Good effort!’) requires that teacher to understand both what the student is capable of, and how the student can express their understanding and what an improved understanding might look like. In other words, a teacher needs to call on and deploy skills related to feedback, teacher subject knowledge, and also their relationship with the student in order to complete the process successfully. There is no single factor that stands out here - rather, there is a mix of different skills and knowledges that expert teachers are capable of weaving together.
So What’s the Answer?
Of course, nothing is ever simple in education. The answer is that teachers - whether they are subject specialists or generalists - need a wide range of different skills and attitudes if they are to assist their students achieve high outcomes. These should include relationships with students, subject matter knowledge and also an understanding of pedagogical processes to develop the understanding that is required. Should a teacher fail to have any of these, then it is likely that the learning in the classroom will not be as successful. However, it would be foolish to isolate one of these skills to the exclusion of all others: teaching, like most people-centred professions, requires a range of abilities and skills that the practitioner carefully weaves together, in such a way as to provide the most meaningful experience possible.
Why people consider Psychology as a science?
The definition of psychology claims that psychology contains the features of science. First of all it is important to know what science is. Second, if psychology is a science, i: it a natural science like physics, chemistry, and biology or a social science like sociology and economics? As you will read later, psychology has evolved out of the combined influences of natural science and philosophy. Hence, ii contains some of the elements of natural science.
What is science?
Science refers to a systematic process of acquiring and organizing knowledge. Science is defined not by its subject matter, but by the methods employed to acquire knowledge. The methods used in science are systematic, objective, and verifiable. The objective of science is to gain an understanding of the cause-and-effect relationship among variables under carefully controlled observations. The controlled observations, called be experiments, usually take place in the laboratory with the help of scientific instruments. While using experimental procedures, certain variables or conditions are changed by the experimenter to observe their effects on another an, variable. The variables changed by the experimenter are called ‘independent variables’ the variables on which their effects are observed are called ‘dependent variables’. The process of gaining knowledge follows certain defined stages in scientific enquiry:
(a) identification and analysis of a problem,
(b) formulation of a hypothesis which states the expected finding of an investigation,
(c) preparing a design or strategy,
d) collection and analysis of data,
(e) interpretation of the findings, and
(f) developing or revising a theory.
Since Wundt established the first psychology laboratory in 1879 at Leipzig, psychologists are claiming a scientific status for their discipline. In the early years, psychology emulated the methods of physics and biology, it was also considered to be a life science as it was connected with biology. Recently, neurophysiology has emerged as a discipline, which studies the relationship between biological structure of the brain and its psychological functions. Thus psychology contains a few elements of natural sciences. Let us take an example of how method of learning influences retention of the learned material. ^ Here, the ‘method of learning’ is the ‘independent variable’ ‘the amount of retention’ is the ‘dependent variable’. The method of learning may be massed (no interval between learning trials) or distributed (a specific interval between .’ learning trials). After the problem is identified, a hypothesis is formulated.
In this case, the hypothesis may be, ‘ The amount of retention would be more for distributed than for massed method of learning’. The design followed is an experimental design with two conditions. In one condition, the subjects are exposed to ‘massed’ learning trials, and in the other, they are given ‘distributed’ learning trials. Other variables such as laboratory setting, number of trials, nature of materials etc. are controlled, which means that they remain the same for two groups. After learning, the subjects are asked to recall what they learned.
Thus data are collected, analysed, and interpreted. If the findings show that the distributed condition results in better retention compared to the massed condition, the hypothesis is supported if it does not, the hypothesis is rejected. In this example, the procedures and steps of natural sciences are followed. The researcher has been objective and has collected information systematically. The findings can also be verified by another scientist, who would probably obtain the same result. These findings can be generalized to form scientific laws. Using these laws, scientists can understand and make predictions.
Can we call psychology a science?
Yes, we can, because it fulfills many conditions of science. It has systematic and objective methods its findings can be verified it examines cause-and-effect relationships to produce universal laws governing human behaviour.
The question arises, ‘Is psychology an exact science like physics, chemistry, and biology?’ Perhaps, not. Unlike natural sciences, psychology deals with behaviors and mental processes. Behavior is very complex, dynamic, and ever changing. The mental processes are very abstract, and are in a state of dynamic interaction. Hence, the laws in psychology are not as exact and precise as those in physics.
We cannot expect that psychology would conform to the laws of natural sciences. Human beings not only live in their natural environment they live in a community having its unique socio-cultural aspects. The cultural influences vary immensely from one setting to another.
Hence it is difficult to come up with universal laws that would be applicable in all contexts. Furthermore, many issues of psychological interest cannot be studied in laboratory set up under artificially controlled conditions. Considering all these, psychology can best be described as a social science, devoted to the scientific study of behaviors, experiences, and mental processes.
5 Types of Memories| Psychology
This article throws light upon the five types of memories. The types are: 1. Personal and Impersonal Memory 2. Role and Logical Memory 3. Habit and Pure Memory 4. Immediate and Permanent Memory 5. Immediate and Permanent Memory.
Type # 1.
Personal and Impersonal Memory:
In personal memory we remember not only the fact learned in the past but various other personal experiences connected with them. When you recall your first experience of college life and your contact with eminent professors, you remember many details of your personal life.
This is personal memory. But in impersonal memory a fact alone is remembered but not along with other personal details. When you remember the fifth theorem of Euclid, you do not recall the parti­cular incidents connected with the process of acquiring the knowledge of it. So it is impersonal memory.
Type # 2.
Role and Logical Memory:
Mechanical repetition of and experience without intelligent apprehension is called rote memory. It is cramming. It does not involve understanding or assimilation. A boy mechanically recites a poem again and again, and commits it to memory. This is rote memory.
Logical memory depends upon intelligent understanding or assimilation. It does not depend upon mere repetition. A boy thoroughly understands a theorem of geometry and reads it a number of times. He can easily retain and reproduce it on proper occasions. This is logical memory. Role memory is word for word memory of the learned material. Logical memory is memory for the meaning of the learned material.
Type # 3.
Habit and Pure Memory:
Bergson’s distinction between ‘habit memory and pure memory’ is similar to the distinction between rote memory and logical memory. He holds that habit is a function of the body, but that memory is a function of the mind. When we learn some material (e.g., a poem) by mechanical repetition, we merely form a habit of reciting certain groups of words.
In reproducing the poem we do not recall the past experience but we merely recite it in a mechanical way. Bergson assigns ‘habit memory’ to the body, and ‘pure memory’ to the mind. Habit memory is the result of verbal repetitions. It consists in mechanical habit forma­tion.
True memory depends on association and interest. Habit memory is rote memory. True memory is logical memory. Old pedagogy emphasized habit memory. Modern pedagogy lays stress on true memory.
True memory cannot be reduced to neural habit, because it does not depend upon repetition of the same matter, and because it depends upon its meaning and relation to the subject’s purpose. An intensely interesting scene or a charming song can be remembered, even if it was perceived on a single occasion.
When we memorize a poem, true memory predominates over neural habit, which is formed by neural associations. But true memory depends upon mental associations.
Type # 4.
Immediate and Permanent Memory:
The material learned may be recalled just after learning it. Or, it may be recalled after a lapse of time. Memory just after learning is called immediate, memory. Memory after a certain amount of time has elapsed and learning is called permanent memory. The element of forgetting during the period may eliminate much of the learned material.
The longer is the time allowed to elapse, the greater is the forgetting. Imme­diate memory increases with age. The child never attains the level of the adult. Immediate memory progresses at a slow rate up to the adolescent period, i.e., up to 14 years. It progresses very rapidly during adolescence, i.e., between 14 and 18 years.
The individual attains his maximum limit of immediate memory by the age of 25 years. Immediate memory depends upon the law of perseveration. Owing to the operation of this law, an experience tends to reproduce itself or bob into consciousness automatically.
Perseveration is the tendency of the subconscious traces produced by learning a material to rise to the level of consciousness. Or, it is the spontaneous re­activation of a neural pattern or neurogram. Norman traces per­severation to neural facilitation.
The mystery of perseveration is not yet solved. Perseveration is a tendency of a subconscious trace produced by learning a material to rise to the level of consciousness. Or, it is the spontaneous reactivation of a neural pattern of neurogram. Probably it is due to neural facilitation.
The mystery of perseveration is not yet solved. The adult pays close attention to the learned matter. So perseveration becomes stronger, and he acquires greater immediate, memory. Permanent memory depends upon the laws of association. The more the learned material is associated with other ideas in the mind and wrought into the system of know­ledge, the greater is the permanency of memory.
Type # 5.
Active and Passive Memory:
When past experiences flash into our memory without an effort of the will, our memory is passive or spontaneous. The sight of a ripe mango reminds us of its sweet taste. The sight of a delicious dish reminds us of its flavour. These are instances of passive memory.
But when we remember a past experience by an effort of the will, our memory is active. Active memory is called recollection. We try to recollect a forgotten name be an effort of the will and succeed at last in recollecting it. This is active memory.
Recollection is aided by fixation of ideas and control of suggestive forces. Fixation of ideas means concentration of attention on the partly revived images for their complete revival. If you fix your attention on the idea of Akbar, most of your knowledge about him will be revived.
And you ought to control the suggestive forces by attending to the ideas associated with the ideas to be revived. You ought to think of Akbar as a military commander, as a political administrator, and as a pro-pounder of religion. Then you will recollect all relevant ideas about him.
Subject knowledge enhancement
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