Many individuals are poor at making decisions and many of the decisions that most of us make as individuals or a group of people can both be extremely wrong and lead to costly and harmful consequences(Barham, 2012). One of my experiences can best demonstrate this.
I was employed and worked part-time during one of my summers and I invited my friends to come work with me because there were a couple of vacant positions in the firm. We were happy to be together even after school was closed and, as a result, we spend almost all of our times together. In the office, we would whisper to each other and tell stories of some of our experiences so one can only imagine the noise coming from our office. Our boss spent most of the time working elsewhere but at times, he would come to the office to supervise our work. Not in the least was he ever happy with our behaviour in the office. He warned us that the office was a professional environment and we were required to act professionally in the office. We would wonder why he was bothering us because we were productive even though we constantly talked to each other. One morning our boss decided to fire all of us because we were ruining business for him. I was disappointed in myself and regretted for behaving inappropriately in the office, as I needed the money.
Individuals usually make decisions without referring to essential information, even when that information is easily and readily assessable(Sharps& Martin, 2002). Had we made use of some critical thinking concepts, our fates would have been different. For instance, we would have recognized what the problem was to find possible means to work out the problems, we would have understood the essentiality of prioritization and even recognize masked values and assumptions to realize that our jobs were essential and behaved in a manner that pleased our boss to enable us to keep our jobs(Glaser, 1941).
The ability to form new memories, to store them for a while and retrieve them or recall them when needed allows individuals to interact and learn with the rest of the world. The study and examination of human memory has been subject to philosophy and science for a number of centuries and has, therefore, become one of the main topics of concern in psychology. Nevertheless, what does the term memory refer to, and how do people form memories? The following essay will offer a short overview of what memory is, how it works, its limitations and how it is organized(Lakhan, 2006).
Memory is the process through which an individual acquires stores, retains and later retrieves information. Science has identified three kinds of processes that are mainly involved in the creation of memory. These include encoding, storing and retrieving of information. For an individual to be able to create new memories in the form of information have to be altered to a form that is usable, which takes place through the process called encoding. Once an individual has successfully encoded information, it has to be hoarded in memory for the purposes ofretrievalafter when needed. Most of this memory for storage is unavailable to our cognition most of the times except in times when an individual actually has a need for it. The process of retrieving the information allows an individual to bring the memories in storage into their conscious awareness. For example, an individual codes information and stores information derived in class during a lecture and retrieves this information when needed during an exam(Kotbagi, 1997).
Between two different neurons is the synapse, which allows for the passing of information from one neuron to another. This connectivity pathway is how messages are passed from one cell to another and how individuals form and store memories. As people keep on learning, pathways within one’s brain are formed. Without the continued utilization of these pathways, they decay and a person forgets or looses memory. The more often an individual makes use of a pathway, the stronger the pathway becomes and the simpler it becomes to remember or to salvage the memories stored in the brain. A key objective of education is to develop new and more pathways and to reinforce existing pathways to make sure they are not susceptible to decay by using them repeatedly(Kotbagi, 1997).
Interference is another mechanism responsible for decay of information or forgetting. The interference theory depicts that information in memory stays until more information is added to push it out because of crowding. For example, when a person is trying to memorize something like a phone number and then another person comes along and interrupts the process by asking some question. By the time, the individual is done answering the posed question he or she has forgotten the phone number he or she was trying to memorize. As the new information, in the form of a question, comes in, it crowds the existing information out of the memory. Retroactive interference takes place when new information comes in and interferes with one’s ability to retain existing information, like the previously mentioned phone number. On the other hand, proactive interference works the opposite way and prevents more and new information from coming in. for instance, when one has two exams in a day like physics and literature. If one starts with the physics exam, they find it hard to concentrate on the literature exam because existing information keeps on blocking the new one(Huxley, n.d).
Observation and science have proven that humans learn significant amounts of information from repetition. Advertising is one excellent example of this theory- with firms spending billions of money to present audiences with repeated messages and information. These advertisement messages work even though they are passive. Repetition has been identifies as an efficient way of improving memory especially when it is in a process that is active. Scientists point out that repetition is among the most successful and efficient ways of mastering new information and material. Even on a basis that is independent, a number of studies promote reading one’s notes for more than two times as a useful tool for learning and retaining information(Lakhan, 2006).
Scientists have shown strong and positive effects of repetition on learning. Presentation that is repeated increases memory for these items or information. Retrieval that is repeated is also essential in improving memory. By repeating significant concepts and then making a student retrieve the concepts a number of times is a way of strengthening the neural pathways, thereby, making subsequent remembering and retrieval easier and retention more long- lasting and durable(Kotbagi, 1997).
Barham, J. (2012). The road to rational decision- making. Security Management. Retrieved from http://www.securitymanagement.com/news/road-rational-decision-making
Glaser, E. (1941). An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking. New York: Bureau of Publications.
Huxley, A. (n.d).Cognition, memory and language. Chapter 7. In Introduction to psychology. Words of Wisdom, LLC.
Kotbagi, H. (1997). Human memory. Georgia Institute of Technology.
Lakhan, S. (2006). Neuropsychological Generation of Source Amnesia: An Episodic Memory Disorder of the Frontal Brain. Journal of Medical and Biological Sciences. 1:1.
Sharps, M. & Martin, S. (2002). ‘Mindless’ decision making as a failure of contextual reasoning. J. Psychology 136 (3): 272- 82.
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