GUEST POST: A Guide to Mnemonic Learning Techniques and its Awareness in Psychology Students

GUEST POST: A Guide to Mnemonic Learning Techniques and its Awareness in Psychology Students

These are the types of mnemonic learning techniques that are in practice to grasp and recall the to-be-read target information. Now, with research analysis, let’s quickly look at how the 3 commonly used mnemonic learning techniques have fared off their role in enhancing students’ memory.

Keyword mnemonic

The study conducted for the high school students at a career technology center in Dayton, OHA, showed how keyword mnemonics helped medical students remember the technical and medical terminology (3). In this study, Medical terminology 350 (The Dean Vaughn Medical Terminology 350 Total Retention System), a mnemonic learning strategy – involves keyword mnemonics and mental imagery, is used to recall the scientific meaning of Greek and Latin words of medical terminologies. 

The senior Anatomy and Physiology students who were enrolled in vocational programs to Medical Secretary and Dental Assisting programs were divided into 3 different groups. Twenty-five elements of Greek and Latin or word parts were given to all the groups for 4 consecutive days:

Group A (n=20): Medical Terminology 350 (MT 350); students were given instructions with an audiovisual learning module; later, they were asked to create word bank cards that included the Greek or Latin word, the audionym (sound-alike hint or cue), the original meaning of the term at the back of the card, and a picture of the mental imagery in the front.

Group B (n=20): Rote Memorization; students were asked to memorize and prepare the flashcards with the element and its original meaning.

Group C (n=1): Combined (Both MT 350 and Rote); students (already exposed to MT 350 with the dentistry practice) were instructed to memorize and prepare flashcards.


Group A: The Greek term “Gastr ” and “gas truck” can be the audionym here now the learners imagine a “gas truck,” and it cues them to convert it as a gas truck with a stomach for a tank. The learner connects the image with the audionym and recalls the actual term. And this mnemonic strategy is called Dean Vaughn Medical Terminology 350 Total Retention System. Element (gastr-) →Audionym (Gastruck) →Meaning (Stomach) 

Group B: Element (gastr-) →Meaning (Stomach) 

All of them took part in pretest and posttest, and the results of Group A students who had practiced MT 350 secured greater scores than the combined and rote learning groups. Thus, the study enunciates the influential role of keywords and mental imagery in recalling the intricate scientific abbreviations and technical terms. 

Method of Loci

To unfurl the effectiveness of the method of loci, here is a study involving how the students of human learning and memory courses use this technique to remember the grocery list by creating a memory palace based on their campus locations. 

Two groups of undergraduate students were considered, while Group A with 30 participants and Group B with 37 participants of Goucher college (4). The task was to recall Grocery list one and list 2. First, the students were asked to recall the list using their own learning technique during the pretest. And then, they were advised to read the Moonwalking with Einstein book (that articulates the method of Loci mnemonic technique and teaches us how to create memory palaces based on our location to remember the list of items). 

The students used this technique, and during the posttest, they used this mind mapping technique to remember the grocery list. The results showed a significant difference from the pretest scores to the posttest that precisely indicates the use of the method of loci. Also, there was another measure that proved beneficial here is the change in the memory aid questionnaire that reflected self-reported score, i.e., the technique also aids the students using MoL in their daily life, including a real-time memory improvement. Most importantly, the study proved that mnemonics strengthens metacognitive sophistication in undergraduate students. 

Semantic processing

Semantic processing was proved beneficial over non-semantic processing (reading, re-reading, or rote learning) by using Craik and Tulving’s (abbreviated version) classic-level of processing experiment on undergraduate students (5)

When Craik and Tulving’s experiment was presented, students spotted 18 words for 2 sec each (one at a time). Before presenting each word, an orienting question appeared to encourage the students to learn the characteristics of each term. 

The questions were divided into three types for every six words; orthographic, phonological, and semantic orienting questions. The questions were later randomly mixed and presented to students for 3 seconds each. Then, the instructors asked students to write “yes” or “no.” Post that, the activity witnessed a short discussion about the types of questions and the reason for their inclusion. And then, the instructor gave a 60-sec surprise test to recall the words written on the answer sheet! The results showed better scoring for the semantic processing condition than the other two. Thus, it helped students realize the importance of learning by relating the information to themselves rather than reading, re-reading, or memorization.