The study focused on the analysis of effects of short-term and long-term memory. The key point of the study was to find out how the short-term and long-term memory of subjects differs depending on the information they perceive. Methods of the study involved the experiment in the course of which subjects (students) were exposed to words and pictures. One group of students saw words solely, while the other group of students saw both words and pictures. The results of the study have revealed the better retention in the long-term memory of words in students, who saw both words and pictures. Therefore, visualization has a positive impact on the better retention of words or information in the long-term memory.
Effects of Short-Term and Long-Term Memory
In actuality, the study of effects of the short-term and long-term memory is very important because it helps to understand the difference in the retention of information in the short-term and long-term memory. The study of effects of the short-term and long-term memory can uncover possible ways to improvement of the retention of information not only in the short-term memory but also in the long-term one. Some researchers () conducted studies to find out the mechanism of the retention of words and information in memory and factors that may influence the retention of information in memory. At this point, it is possible to refer to the study conducted by J. Rusted and V. Coltheart (1979), where the researchers studied the effects of visual means, pictures, on the retention of new words and prose. The researchers (Rusted and Coltheart, 1979) found out that pictures help to enhance the recall but have no effect on the recognition and pronunciation of new words. Other researchers (Pellegrino, et al., 1973) focused on the study of the short-term memory in terms of retention of pictures and the mechanism of retention. They (Pellegrino, et al., 1973) found out that individuals have the dual system of coding of information they receive, which involve not only verbal channel but also visual one. In terms of the current study, the experiment was conducted involving two groups of students. One group of students was shown words and pictures, while another group of students was shown words solely. The results were studied to find out effects of the short-term and long-term memory depending on the impact on students. The hypothesis of the study is the premise that pictures used along with words could help subjects to retain words in their memory better and for longer time compared to subjects, who receive words only.
The study has revealed the fact that students, who observed words and pictures, retained words in memory better compared to students, who saw words only. They could recall words more accurately. In short-term perspective, both students, who saw words and pictures, and students, who saw words solely, could retain many words in memory. However, in a long-term perspective, students tended to forget words they saw. At this point, students, who saw both pictures and words, performed better in retaining the words in their memory compared to students, who saw words only.
Therefore, students, who saw words and pictures, were better in retaining words in their memory. At the same time, all students could retain a large amount of words in their memory in short-term perspective. Consequently, the visualization, i.e. pictures, could have helped students to retain words in their memory. However, students have difficulties with retaining new or difficult words, which they could not retain in their memory even when they saw not only the word but also the picture.
The current study has proved the hypothesis of the study that pictures or visualization can help to retain words in memory better than words solely. In a short-term perspective, memory of subjects was capable to retain the information they received, i.e. words, which were supported by pictures for some students. Their short-term memory functioned well and allowed them to retain information effectively.
However, in a long-term perspective, the memory can fail to retain words that reveals possible problems with the retention of words in memory in a long-term perspective. Words slipped of the subjects’ memory that is a natural process, in the course of which information learned by individuals erases from the memory steadily and they forget all information or at least its part. In this regard, subjects were naturally vulnerable to the impact of steady erasing of the information from their memory in the course of time. Nevertheless, pictures as visual means helped them to maintain associations with certain words and to retain them in memory. In contrast, students, who lacked such visualization suffered substantial difficulties with recalling the words. This difference between subjects’ long-term memory proves that visualization is really helpful in retaining information in the long-term memory.
The fact that students, who saw pictures and words, retain words better in their memory compared to students, who saw just words, proves the fact that people perceive information through two channels verbal and visual, at the least (Pellegrino, et al., 1973). As students perceived the words, they attempted to retain them in their memory at the verbal level. However, students also perceived images, which they also retained in their memory and developed strong associations between the words and images. As a result, the visual back up enhanced the retention in the long-term perspective since students could recall words better, if they could associate them with pictures they saw.
As for the short-term memory, there were unsubstantial differences identified between students, who saw words and pictures, and students, who saw words only. Therefore, the short-term memory works well enough, even if the verbal information solely is perceived by an individual.
At the same time, the study revealed the little positive effect of pictures on the understanding of words by students since, if they encountered a new or difficult word they were unfamiliar with, they normally failed to retain this word in the memory, even if they saw the picture along with the word. At this point, the study proved findings of other researchers (Rusted & Coltheart, 1979), who argued that pictures are of little help to enhance pronunciation and recognition of new words, although they help to enhance the recall of words.
Therefore, the current study reveals the correlation of visualization and verbalization in terms of recall and retention of words in memory. On the other hand, the further study is needed to understand the full extent to which visual images may affect the perception of information and its retention in memory of students. Nevertheless, the study has proved that visualization enhances recall in the short-term memory.