Memory

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Remembering and forgetting is part of our everyday life. There has been a considerable research in past couple of decades which demonstrate that context-dependency could be the key to the improvement of our memory.(ref!) What exactly is it context-dependency? One of the recent studies show that human episodic memory can be influenced by changes in context (Smith & Vela, 2001). If information is learned in one environment or context and then recalled in the same environment, it has a better impact on the recall. The evidence shows that while effects of context on memory are usually found when recall tests are used, they are not found when recognition tests are used (Smith, 1988). It has been argued that there are more types of contexts which can affect recall. The most common and most examined type is environmental context-dependent memory, further state-dependent memory and mood-congruent/dependent memory. In this essay there will be discussed the general research which has been done into context dependency following by differences between episodic and semantic memory. Furthermore, the types of contexts will be covered and their possible application for improvement of our memory in everyday life. In the end of the essay 2 specific examples of the use of context dependency will be discussed. These are learning for an exam and improving the memory recall on the work place. The research into context dependency and its effects on memory dates back more than 80 years ago when Carr (1925) examined the influences of manipulation of the environment on maze running in rats. Many studies have been carried out since then and they support the idea that manipulation of the context, whether it is environmental factors or inner states, aff... ... middle of paper ... ...a great help in improving our memory recall during an exam. The study of Parker (2001) who found out that the same ambient odour (lemon or lavender) improves performance in free recall, could be one of the beneficial way. However, a further comparison with an additional group showed that while recall of the word list and spatial learning were best when the same odour was present at both learning and text, there was no such context-dependent effect for the problem solving task. Another study was done by Grant, H.M., Bredahl, L.C., Clay, Smith (1985). They carried out an experiment in a silent and noisy condition, when 40 participants read an article. Both types of test showed context-dependency effects. The performance was better in the matching conditions, which indicates that for example studying in silence and recalling in silence can help in the exam performance.

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