Paired Associates Learning: Concrete Abstract Pairs

(If you have not done so, it is recommended that you read, and do, the preceding post, “Paired Associates Learning: Concrete Concrete Pairs”)

In the preceding post, the words being associated were fairly concrete, so it was not difficult to form images for them.  Now consider the following word pairs:

BLACKSMITH          ATROCITY

CHIN                          HINT

HORSE                       LAW

In these pairs the stimulus, or cue, is still concrete, but the response is somewhat abstract and difficult to image.  The word needs to be recoded into a meaningful picture.  Here are some possible mental images you can form to remember these word pairs:

A mental image of a BLACKSMITH  committing some sort of ATROCITY

A  mental image of someone playing a game of charades pointing to her CHIN as a HINT

A mental image of a HORSE attending LAW school.

 Now try forming mental images for these word pairs:

CIGAR                       PERMISSION

FISHERMAN                        FOLLY

LARK                         LEGISLATION

PRIEST                       CHANCE

CAR                            MALICE

FOREHEAD              INTERIM

KETTLE                     MASTERY

ADMIRAL                 MISCONCEPTION

LOBSTER                  ANTITOXIN

MICROSCOPE          AMOUNT

Now, without looking above, try recalling the word that was paired with each of the following:

FISHERMAN

PRIEST

FOREHEAD

ADMIRAL

MICROSCOPE

CIGAR

LARK

CAR

KETTLE

LOBSTER

Now let’s try another set of ten pairs

MACARONI              TEMERITY

TRUMPET                  LENGTH

UMBRELLA              TRUTH

LIBRARY                  SAVANT

MEAT                         PROXY

TOAST                       UNBELIEVER

LEOPARD                 PROMOTION

KING                          METHOD

SOIL                           INGRATITUDE

ROBIN                       PERMISSION

Now, without looking back, try to remember the appropriate response to each stimulus or cue by remembering the mental image.

SOIL

LEOPARD

MEAT

UMBRELLA

MACARONI

ROBIN

KING

TOAST

LIBRARY

TRUMPET

I think you will agree that this is healthy mental exercise that makes demands on your imagination and creativity as well as your memory.  Undoubtedly you noted that the task became more difficult as the words became more abstract.  It takes more practice to become proficient with the abstract words, but this practice can be quite worthwhile, as you have likely noted that much information that you want to remember is abstract, sometimes even nonsensical. 

I have stressed using mental images. However, it is also possible to use verbal linkages, phrases and sentences.  You might find that the latter technique works better with abstract material. 

 Please repeat these blog postings as often as you think it is needed to develop proficiency.  This will serve you in good stead for the remainder of this book.

If you have done all the exercises in this blog, you have accomplished quite a mental workout.  You have exercised both hemispheres of  your brain as well as your imagination, recoding, retrieval, and decoding skills.  You should also be beginning to develop some effective new memory skills.  Remember that you are engaged on a course from which you do not finish and graduate.  You need to keep practicing these skills both to improve your specific memory skills and to exercise and improve your mind and brain.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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