Got Memory?


Have you ever wondered how you encode, and later on retrieve a phone number? Do you still remember the first phone number of the home you grew up in?  I do. I first encoded the number when I got to the United States at age 11. I remember it starts with a NYC 212 area code. I still remember the rest of the sever digits. How do I remember important information at work? Encoding is defined as the process of acquiring information and transferring into the long term memory (LTM). Cognitive Psychology, Pg173

How do I get information into my long term memory? I try using Shallow processing method which is through the maintenance rehearsal process. It consists of repeating it until it is passed into long term memory. When I came to live in NYC, I never had memorized a phone number before.  There are a lot of risks while going to school, coming home from school in a big city like New York City. I needed to memorize the home phone number.  I memorized it by a process called chunking.  The phone number was 212-368-1108. I practiced chunking while trying to keep it alive on my short term memory, then it was passed onto my long term memory.  I am now 32 years old, and I first memorized the number at 11 years old.

Another instance when I use memory, either short term or long term is at work.  I need to recognize inmate’s faces and their name and inmate number in case of an inmate on inmate assault or inmate or staff assault. Most of the time if I cannot recall the inmate name or number, I use my long term memory and remember the inmate block.  By retrieving such information I can log into the computer and search for more information. Although I might have a computer available, I rely on my short term, and long term memory to retrieve important information at work.

In conclusion, memory sure is a powerful thing. It helps me keep others and myself safe at work. I can retrieve information from the yard, chow hall etc. By retrieving such information, I can go back and analyze if I certain gang members gathered in the yard, etc. It helps me get home and to work. It helps me not forget my 4 months old in the car. It helps me remember that I need to pick up the 7 year old at school. How do you use your memory?




Goldstein, E. Bruce. (2011). Cognitive psychology connecting mind, research, and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

3 thoughts on “Got Memory?

  1. Mitchell E Knight

    Just like the Author I remember my home phone number from childhood. When I was younger I used to know another number as well, my grandmother’s phone number. My phone number has never changed and there have been a number of times when I have not had a cell phone due to breaking them so I am good with this number. So needing to call home was my retrieval cue for my home phone number. However, my grandmother passed away so I have not used that number in a number of years and have no retrieval cue for that number anymore. The retrieval cue being wanting to call my grandmother. Since this retrieval cue no longer exist I can no longer remember what my grandmother’s number was.

  2. Sandra L Brown

    Just like this author I too can recall my childhood phone number. Both maintenance rehearsal and chunking were examples mentioned in order to recall the phone number from memory. I am familiar with and have also used these processes in order to recall not just an old phone number but many other things. Visual Imagery is a type of encoding that also helps us recall things from our memory (Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, 2010). Bower and Winzenz (1970) showed that the best memory came from those who were instructed to create a mental image. Going back to recalling my childhood phone number I remembered that the numbers being dialed made a triangle on the key pad. Remembering the triangle not only helped me remember what numbers were used it also eliminated the numbers that were not. It took learning about things discussed in this class along with others before I realized the relation to all these things.
    I also seem to be in the same line of work so I understand how important it is to be able to retain and recall a lot of information. It is important to understand which processes work best for you because sometimes the lives and security of others could rely on you remembering something that you learned.

    “visual imagery.” Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. 2010. 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. 1 Nov. 2015
    Bower, G. H., & Winzenz, D. (1970). Comparison of associative learning strategies. Psychonomic Science, 20(2), 119–120.

  3. Ivan David Rogers

    I found this read quite interesting, I also remember most of the phone numbers from my childhood to this day. I remember calling home and my friends so frequently it seemed as if muscle memory did the work for me. It also helped that one of my friend’s phone number was literally just 9s, 7s, and 8s in a slightly different order. However, as I have gotten older, I see that I don’t memorize phone numbers anymore, that may be due to newer technology like cellphones and contact list. I do, however, find myself memorizing other things that I may not have memorized as a kid. It could relate to things like a news report, a reading, or even a piece of music that I heard by ear. Memorizing things such as these seem to apply to my now everyday life. I suppose it is not too different from when I was a child, however, since when I was a child calling my friends was a part of everyday life back then, just like how like how you se yourself using memory for work.

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