We transfer information from short term memory to long term memory through a process called encoding. Encoding involves linking new information to concepts and categories that we have already learned. It is something like filing things in a cross-referenced file system for example, indexing library books by title, author, and subject headings. Most of the time, we encode information automatically, without giving much attention to the mental filing system that we are using.
What Is The Purpose of Encoding In Communication
The key to encoding material successfully in long term memory, however, is to think about the meaning Of the material and attempt to understand it. If you are taught a new formula in a physics class, simply repeating the formula to yourself over and over will not be a very good way of fixing it in your memory. A more effective approach will be to ask yourself what the formula really means and how it relates to other principles that you’ve already learned. In one series of experiments that illustrates the importance of focusing on meaning.
The principle that encoding is most effective when we think about the meaning of the material applies even to our memory for people’s faces. The more closely and thoughtfully we scrutinize a person’s features, the better we will re- member the face. In several studies, subjects were shown pictures of faces and asked to make judgments either of the person’s personality traits (such as the per- son’s honesty) or of the person’s gender. The personality judgments required the subjects to examine the faces more carefully and to think about them at a deeper level. Later the subjects were tested for their recognition of the faces they had seen. The result: subjects recognized the faces best when they had focused on personality traits and, as a result, had given more thought to the “meaning” of the face’s features.