Coding Processes

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[Coding processes refers to the ways in which information may be represented in memory. Events in the world strike our senses and may be well perceived, but the mental operations that ensue determine whether the events will be remembered. These mental operations are referred to as coding processes and have been studied in several different ways. Three types of coding processes are discussed in the entries in this section. The first entry is on coding processes that involve mentalI magery. People tend to remember information better if they convert the information to mental pictures while they study it. This technique is frequently used by experts who can memorize huge amounts of information (see MNEMONISTS) and by all people who employ effective memory strategies (see MNEMONIC DEVICES). In theL evels ofP rocessingapproach, people are directed to think about different aspects of events (attention is directed to superficial properties of events or their meanings) and memory is tested later. The deeper or more meaningful the level of processing, the better the later memory under most circumstances. The final topic in this section is more general, aboutO rganization ofM emory. One effective strategy to code information is to organize it in terms of knowledge we already have. The study of memory organization is concerned with both how knowledge is organized and how people use their knowledge to encode new information in memory. The study of coding processes is central to the study of human memory and ramifies through most other topics. For example, whether some bit of information can be retrieved from memory depends on how it was encoded when it was learned (see RETRIEVAL PROCESSES IN MEMORY).]