Do you ever stop needing mnemonics?

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#1 1 January, 2017 - 20:43
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Joined: 2 weeks 6 days ago

Do you ever stop needing mnemonics?


Hello everyone! this is my first post on this lovely forum. After searching the forum for a while I cannot find a concise answer to my question so I will ask it here.

When one uses mnemonics to remember/memorize information is there a point at which the mnemonic technique is no longer needed to remember the information? Or does the memory become permanently associated with whatever arbitrary image one chose to connect it to?

Thanks in advance for any answers or advice!

2 January, 2017 - 03:07
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Joined: 4 years 3 months ago

This is a good question and I can't wait to see what the others will answer. From my experience, the scaffolding provided by mnemonics tend to disappear progressively according at least these two factors :

  1. The nature of what is learned. If this is a complex or arbitrary list that would have been hard to learn without mnemonics, then the associations will tend remain (...which seems a logical thing at the same time)
  2. How often do you use this information outside reviewing. The more you use it the more the scaffolding will vanish. For vocabulary for example, words I use often are not strongly associated with their images (even if I can, with not much effort, retrieve the image). Words that I not use often are more associated with their images.

Whenever you feel like it, I'd be interested to know why you ask yourself this question.

2 January, 2017 - 14:11
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Joined: 2 weeks 6 days ago

Hello Bruno, first I would like to thank you for the great reply!

To answer your question, this question was actually a part of a series of questions regarding mnemonics and long term memory, the rest of which were tidily answered by others on this forum. These questions mostly pertained to whether mnemonics changed the nature of long-term memories or, as you put it, served as a "scaffold" to aid in the transition from short-term to long-term memory. I personally think that the analogy of a scaffold is very accurate to the function that mnemonics serve in memory, as it is a temporary frame to hold a shape while more permanent structures are built.

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