Logo for HumanTech podcastDid you see the movie Inside Out? Remember the colored memory balls — stacks and stacks of them? Well, that’s not how memory works. In this podcast episode we talk about the way we store and retrieve memories.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

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100 Things You Should Know About People: #78 — People Use A Schema To Encode And Remember

Picture of an eyeIf I ask you to describe what a “head” is, you might talk about the brain, hair, eyes, nose, ears, skin, neck, etc. A head is made up of many things, but you’ve gathered all that information together and called it “head”. Similarly I could talk about the concept “eye”. And you would think about all the things that make up an eye: the eyeball, iris, eyelash, eyelid, etc. Psychologists call these groupings a “schema” (the plural is schemata). You use schemata to store information in ,and retrieve information out of, your long term memory.

A schema builds associations — If you can connect new information you encounter to information that is already stored, then it will be easier for it to stick, or stay in long-term memory, and easier to get it out of your memory. A schema allows you to build up these associations in long term memory. Just one schema helps you organize a lot of information. Continue reading “100 Things You Should Know About People: #78 — People Use A Schema To Encode And Remember”