Mechanical and logical memory: distinctive features and ways of development

The vast majority of people believe that memory is just a kind of «warehouse» for information. However, professionals have long found out that there are at least two different components — mechanical and logical memory. They have their own distinctive features and specific ways of development.

Characteristics and features

In psychology, the difference between types of memory is distinguished not only because it is convenient. A number of studies have shown that such a division corresponds to the true reality. Thus, the mechanical memory of a person implies the preservation of material and facts in the state in which they were understood. If, for example, a foreign language or previously unknown terms of the native language are studied, then the words will be acquired in isolation. The foreign language is not mentioned by chance. Only purely mechanically one can initially assimilate unaccustomed words and grammatical structures.

In this case, they form clear, bright and juicy images. Attempts to abandon the use of mechanical memory inevitably provoke significant errors.. But it is needed not only in purely informational terms. It is on mechanical memory that the development of simple motor stereotypes, including the skills of performing physical exercises, is ultimately based.

A necessary condition for success is greater plasticity of the nervous system.

But mechanical memory also has significant limitations.. So, although it is valuable as operational assistance in difficult cases, it does not allow you to immediately weed out errors and shortcomings. If ready-made speech formulas or athletic exercises are mastered immediately incorrectly, it will be extremely difficult to correct these deviations. For many people, this is almost impossible to do. In addition, even with a slight change in conditions or requirements, the application of a mechanically learned skill is difficult.

Otherwise, logical memory works. It concentrates not so much on the external form as on the content of the processed material. In this case, the definitions of various terms are carefully studied, semantic chains are formed between specific facts and judgments. And even in the same physical definitions, one can trace their own logic, sequence. Assimilated information is carefully analyzed, divided into component parts. Subsequently, you can always even swap these information blocks in places or creatively use them in a non-standard, unforeseen situation in advance.

Logical memory does not rely solely on the analysis of the material.. It also needs to be repeated systematically. But this repetition has a different meaning than mechanical reproduction.

Be sure to pay attention to the meaning of the information being mastered. The use of logical memory is more laborious, but a more durable result is achieved.

Memorization mechanism

The difference between the two types of memory is expressed not only in how they are arranged from the point of view of psychology. Professionals know that mechanical memory is based largely on the first signal system. Logical memorization also relies on this level of the psyche, but still it mainly uses the capabilities of the second signaling system. It is worth considering that the mechanical assimilation of information has an important advantage — it is practically inexhaustible. In any case, no specialist can confidently say what is the general capacity of this type of memory.

But what is learned mechanically (“jagged”) can just as easily be forgotten. Only with systematic new repetitions will information be stored for a longer period. For example, the names of people, addresses or phone numbers that are no longer relevant are quickly forgotten. But by building clear logical chains, you can minimize this risk. Undoubtedly, studies of both types of memorization will still reveal a lot of interesting things, but these basic facts will no longer be refuted.


In real life, and in every profession, a person needs both mechanical and logical memory. However, the proportions between them are very different. The more dynamically a certain sphere develops, the more complex it is, the less one can rely on a material learned once and for all. And even the basic practical approaches become obsolete over time. Mechanical memorization is effective when it is required to fix:

  • names and dates;
  • digital indicators;
  • tabular data;
  • long lists;
  • texts of official documents;
  • poetic works;
  • formulas used in science and technology, formulations of the laws of nature.

If we take an athlete as an example, then he will learn elementary movements and manipulations mechanically. And this is the most justified way, because they will be repeated constantly. But the general strategy leading to victory in competitions, techniques that allow you to defeat your rivals — this is already the prerogative of logical memory. The more complex technology is used in human activity, the more emphasis will be placed on semantic relationships. But in the administrative sphere, office work, the emphasis on template, repetitive actions and schemes is of primary importance.

Ways of development

In children and adolescents, it is important to develop equally mechanical and logical memory. The first — because in educational institutions they have to master a huge amount of information. The second is because it is important to instill the skills of rational comprehension of incoming data. But here It is also important to pay attention to the temporal stages of the memorization process. Short-term memory is developed by strengthening the ability to transfer data from an abstract to a figurative state.

For this purpose, various options for figurative visualization are suitable. In children of preschool age, direct mechanical memorization is developed very intensively. As we grow older, this ability is steadily reduced. But still, psychologists recommend such methods of strengthening mechanical memory in children, such as:

  • refusal to assimilate all the material in one approach, dividing it into parts;
  • a combination of simple repetition with attempts at reproduction;
  • application of mnemonic methods;
  • periodic change in the nature of intellectual work;
  • maintaining the maximum diversity of digestible material.

The development of logical memory occurs somewhat differently. This requires, when studying each task (problem), dividing it into its component parts. It is necessary to understand what exactly and for what purpose is being studied.

It is useful to spend time designing diagrams, graphs, tables, and other ways of representing relationships between data. This approach will save much more effort in the future.

If any new information comes in, one must always think about how it affects the already established picture of ideas. Sometimes, because of this, one has to change the sequence of judgments and even abandon previous conclusions. But along with logical memory, the flexibility of thinking will develop. When you want to learn something abstract, it is useful to work out associations with more familiar things. However, each association must be catchy and attract attention with its unusualness.

So, if you just try to mentally arrange the products that you need to buy in the refrigerator, it will turn out faded and inefficient. But you can arrange them along the route of going to the store, for example:

  • a package of milk on a green bench;
  • chicken wings sticking out of a hollow tree;
  • apples someone throws out of a bus window;
  • lettuce hanging on a clothesline;
  • a crow dragging a chain of sausages.

The brighter and more expressive the association (and the specific situation), the better. For the development of logical memory, special exercises are needed, such as the “redundant word” (highlighting what clearly does not fit into a series of objects or phenomena for some reason). Examples:

  • «bonfire — motorcycle — dew» (the first two things are dangerous, and the third is not);
  • «fog — falcon — district» (fog does not have clear boundaries in space);
  • «peak — antenna — globe — rail» (the globe is the only object that is not oblong).

You can also do this: read any text fluently, and then briefly outline the main theses and nuances on paper. Then this record is compared with the original. Otherwise they act in order to develop a mechanical memory. Here are exercises such as:

  • quick inspection of a complex geometric figure or patternwith their immediate playback;
  • a quick introduction to the volume table (the same in essence, but they already write the numbers that they could remember);
  • picture memorization, where the names of the colors are written in the wrong paint, which is indicated;
  • pattern reproduction (ornament);
  • daily workout — memorizing the list of cases, purchases, calls, meetings scheduled for a meeting or report on topics, items of expenditure and income in the personal budget and the budget of the organization «without a piece of paper».

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