theory and techniques. Features of the system of memorizing concepts through associations

Associative memory in psychology

Effec­tive mem­o­riza­tion and repro­duc­tion of infor­ma­tion is facil­i­tat­ed by asso­ci­a­tions that entail the invol­un­tary appear­ance of anoth­er image dur­ing a men­tal con­nec­tion between two or more con­cepts. Sub­se­quent­ly, the mem­o­ry is eas­i­ly updat­ed.

What it is?

In neu­ro­phys­i­ol­o­gy, it is not­ed that the process of per­cep­tion of infor­ma­tion begins from the moment it affects the recep­tors. Exter­nal stim­uli are con­vert­ed into bio­elec­tric ener­gy. Neur­al net­works, caused by com­plex chem­i­cal process­es, allow a per­son to retain an image in mem­o­ry for a long time with­out quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive loss­es. In this way, The phys­i­o­log­i­cal basis of asso­ci­a­tion is con­sid­ered to be a short-term neur­al con­nec­tion caused by con­di­tioned reflex­es.

In psy­chol­o­gy, asso­cia­tiv­i­ty is con­sid­ered a link between men­tal phe­nom­e­na. The struc­ture of human mem­o­ry is arranged in such a way that some mem­o­ries are able to gen­er­ate images asso­ci­at­ed with them. A per­son has the oppor­tu­ni­ty through­out life to accu­mu­late, retain, pre­serve, learn and repro­duce a huge amount of knowl­edge and skills, var­i­ous ideas and images.

Human mem­o­ry is asso­cia­tive. Mem­o­ries entail cer­tain life moments in the form of a log­i­cal chain of relat­ed events. A few musi­cal mea­sures can evoke a wide range of feel­ings. Hear­ing a frag­ment of a work, an indi­vid­ual can instant­ly recall a land­scape, a scent, a sound, or a loved one. Asso­ci­a­tions are a kind of invis­i­ble hooks extract­ed from the depths of mem­o­ry. They con­tain ideas about the accu­mu­lat­ed life expe­ri­ence and expe­ri­enced moments that are direct­ly relat­ed to what needs to be remem­bered.

Prim­i­tive peo­ple used objects to remem­ber. For exam­ple, they took with them a peb­ble or a leaf from a tree. Until now, the expres­sion “knot for mem­o­ry” has remained, mean­ing a kind of encod­ing infor­ma­tion. Exter­nal means of mem­o­ry come to the aid of its inter­nal process. A knot­ted knot on a hand­ker­chief is a cod­ed image of an asso­ci­a­tion.

The asso­cia­tive mem­o­ry of a per­son retains knowl­edge selec­tive­ly. The brain itself fil­ters infor­ma­tion. Some­times a per­son can­not remem­ber an impor­tant event, but remem­bers some insignif­i­cant fact to the small­est detail.

The the­o­ry of asso­cia­tive mem­o­ry is based on the con­cept of asso­ci­a­tions, which are rep­re­sent­ed by 3 groups.

  • Adja­cen­cy asso­ci­a­tions sug­gest the emer­gence of mem­o­ries expe­ri­enced at a cer­tain point in life. For exam­ple, hav­ing met a child­hood friend, a per­son may recall sev­er­al episodes from school time. Mem­o­ries can trig­ger pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive emo­tions.
  • Sim­i­lar­i­ty Asso­ci­a­tions mean the revealed sim­i­lar­i­ties of a new image that has appeared with a pre­vi­ous­ly encoun­tered per­son­’s face.
  • Asso­ci­a­tions by con­trast are able to evoke in the mind oppo­site images that have already been per­ceived before: “beau­ti­ful” — “ter­ri­ble”, “evil” — “kind”, “sweet” — “bit­ter”, “soft” — “hard”.

The asso­cia­tive sys­tem of mem­o­riz­ing con­cepts is based on sim­plic­i­ty, unusu­al­ness and detail. No men­tal effort is required to cre­ate an asso­ci­a­tion. This is a cre­ative process. The tech­nique based on asso­cia­tiv­i­ty is includ­ed in the struc­ture of many tech­niques. Their imple­men­ta­tion allows mem­o­riz­ing a large amount of very com­plex and seri­ous infor­ma­tion.

Impact on ability development

Asso­cia­tive series cre­at­ed in human mem­o­ry, help to devel­op var­i­ous abil­i­ties:

  • mem­o­riza­tion of a sol­id amount of infor­ma­tion;
  • mem­o­ry devel­op­ment;
  • improv­ing the process of mem­o­riz­ing new mate­r­i­al;
  • stim­u­la­tion of the devel­op­ment of imag­i­na­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty;
  • the abil­i­ty to cre­ate new ideas.

Link­ing exist­ing knowl­edge to new mate­r­i­al has a great effect on the devel­op­ment of per­son­al­i­ty abil­i­ties. To iden­ti­fy the abil­i­ty to use asso­cia­tive con­nec­tions, psy­chol­o­gists use test diag­nos­tics.

Association principles

Infor­ma­tion filled with mean­ing is stored for a long time in the struc­ture of the brain, and a mean­ing­less set of words is quick­ly erased from mem­o­ry. With the help of asso­ci­a­tions, any mate­r­i­al is eas­i­ly fixed.

In psy­chol­o­gy, var­i­ous tech­niques are wide­ly used. Mak­ing free asso­ci­a­tions is a cre­ative process. The indi­vid­ual comes up with asso­cia­tive series on his own, depend­ing on his vocab­u­lary and the choice of the word clos­est to him. Thought turns into a real work of art. When cre­at­ing asso­ci­a­tions, bizarre fan­tasies and col­or­ful images are espe­cial­ly effec­tive. Ways of mem­o­riz­ing mate­r­i­al with the help of asso­cia­tive series are very effec­tive.

There is the con­cept of an inter­nal lan­guage. Each per­son has many sin­gle mem­o­ries relat­ed to the same event. All active com­par­isons of the cur­rent rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sub­ject with the exist­ing con­cepts in mem­o­ry are called asso­cia­tive links.

The activ­i­ty of some rep­re­sen­ta­tions is an impulse for remem­ber­ing oth­er con­cepts asso­ci­at­ed with mem­o­ries.

The whole life lived is fixed in the form of vague or vivid mem­o­ries, which are extract­ed from the depths of mem­o­ry when they get acquaint­ed with new mate­r­i­al. Each indi­vid­ual devel­ops cer­tain stereo­types. For exam­ple, hear­ing the word “noisy”, one per­son imag­ines a busy street, anoth­er may think of a vac­u­um clean­er, and a third of a chil­dren’s team.

At the moment of acquain­tance with a per­son, asso­cia­tive bind­ings instant­ly begin to form in the struc­ture of the brain. The pleas­ant tim­bre of the voice can remind the vel­vety bari­tone of a close friend, some of the facial fea­tures of a col­league, etc. The next time you meet this per­son, recog­ni­tion occurs due to inter­nal rep­re­sen­ta­tions that have been acti­vat­ed through ear­li­er asso­ci­a­tions.

There are dif­fer­ent types of them.

  • causal. A thun­der­cloud is asso­ci­at­ed with heavy rain. A bruise indi­cates a bruise or injury.
  • Oppo­site. A con­trast­ing image evokes the oppo­site asso­ci­a­tion. At the sight of a white mouse, the image of a black cat may appear in the imag­i­na­tion.
  • prox­im­i­ty in time. Phe­nom­e­na or facts are often unit­ed by prox­im­i­ty in space or time. The con­cepts of “heat”, “heat” can be asso­ci­at­ed with sum­mer or Africa.
  • sim­i­lar­i­ty. Sim­i­lar signs make it pos­si­ble to men­tal­ly com­pare a cun­ning per­son with a fox, a cow­ard­ly per­son with a hare, and a clum­sy per­son with a bear. An incan­des­cent lamp can be asso­ci­at­ed with a pear, the plan­et Earth with a ball.

How to develop?

Asso­ci­a­tion method great for work­ing with kids. Babies are select­ed pic­tures that resem­ble the orig­i­nal words or phras­es. They are giv­en to chil­dren and the appro­pri­ate phras­es are pro­nounced aloud: deli­cious din­ner, hap­py hol­i­day, dark night, win­ter day, mis­chie­vous dog, strong wind, sum­mer rain, old tree, strong friend­ship, seri­ous ill­ness.

Then the sheets with the image of these con­cepts are removed. Tod­dlers are switched to anoth­er activ­i­ty. Half an hour lat­er, the chil­dren again receive pic­tures. They must repeat pre­vi­ous­ly heard phras­es.

The same tech­nique is used in work­ing with pri­ma­ry school stu­dents. For them, the tasks grad­u­al­ly become more dif­fi­cult. In younger stu­dents, the method forms the skills of quick­ly mem­o­riz­ing the mate­r­i­al. In the future, the prin­ci­ple of work will auto­mat­i­cal­ly be used by them to root in the mem­o­ry of math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­las, abstract con­cepts, com­plex texts, volu­mi­nous infor­ma­tion.

There are many exer­cis­es for train­ing the asso­cia­tive mem­o­ry of old­er stu­dents and adults.

Task number 1

It is nec­es­sary to write down the num­bers from 1 to 100 in a col­umn, then fix on anoth­er sheet 10 asso­ci­a­tions that arise with a cer­tain dig­i­tal sign.


  • 1 — can­dle;
  • 5 — smok­ing pipe;
  • 8 — sign of infin­i­ty;
  • 11 — pal­isade;
  • 14 — Valen­tine (Valen­tine’s Day — Feb­ru­ary 14);
  • 17 — Stir­litz (film “Sev­en­teen Moments of Spring”);
  • 20 — a swan swim­ming in a round lake;
  • 31 — New Year;
  • 33 — Jesus Christ (accord­ing to the num­ber of years lived on earth);
  • 45 — berry (because of the expres­sion “a woman hits 45, becomes a berry again”).

After root­ing in the mem­o­ry of vivid images cor­re­spond­ing to cer­tain num­bers, you need to write out a series of num­bers again and write down an asso­cia­tive event oppo­site each of them. The pro­ce­dure is repeat­ed until all the num­bers in the col­umn run out.

This exer­cise helps in the future to quick­ly remem­ber an impor­tant date or phone num­ber.

Task number 2

You should remem­ber words that are not log­i­cal­ly relat­ed to each oth­er. Each word is giv­en 10 sec­onds to com­pre­hend. You can remem­ber them by lin­ing up words in an asso­cia­tive sequence. The brighter and more inter­est­ing the images are, the eas­i­er it is to remem­ber them. After pro­cess­ing 5 images, you need to men­tal­ly repro­duce the pic­ture in your head, then you need to con­tin­ue work­ing on the next group of words.

Sam­ple list of words to remem­ber:

  • painter;
  • mir­ror;
  • star;
  • fish;
  • mar­malade;
  • car­pet;
  • land­scape;
  • table;
  • a spoon;
  • shame;
  • school­boy;
  • bath;
  • cloud;
  • jug;
  • bul­let;
  • screen;
  • vis­ag­iste;
  • bore­dom;
  • sand;
  • rus­tle.

Imag­ine an artist stand­ing with a brush in front of a huge mir­ror that reflects a bright red five-point­ed star. Sud­den­ly, a fish with mar­malade in its mouth jumps right out of this star and falls with a crash on the car­pet in the room. A beau­ti­ful land­scape is depict­ed on the car­pet. When falling, the fish man­ages to knock the spoon off the table with its tail and instant­ly blush­es with shame.

The school­boy, who wit­nessed these events, imme­di­ate­ly went to the bath­house. On the street, he saw a beau­ti­ful cloud in the form of a jug, into which a bul­let hit with an incred­i­ble whis­tle. The make-up artist saw these events on the screen of his TV. His cheek­bone cramped from bore­dom. The face was so dis­tort­ed that the make-up artist imme­di­ate­ly began to rub it with sand. At that moment, there was a rustling of the pages of an open book.

At the same time, it is nec­es­sary in the imag­i­na­tion to draw not a sim­ple book, but an old leather-bound edi­tion. You need to clear­ly feel the smell of cen­turies-old dust ema­nat­ing from the rustling huge glossy pages. The brighter the image is cre­at­ed, the longer it will be stored in mem­o­ry.

Com­pi­la­tion of absurd text con­tributes to the long-term reten­tion of words in the stor­age of long-term mem­o­ry. The restora­tion of the asso­cia­tive chain of events allows the indi­vid­ual to repro­duce the words in strict sequence the next day, a week lat­er, and even a month lat­er.

The use of the method of asso­cia­tive links makes it pos­si­ble for a per­son to mem­o­rize a very large num­ber of words with­out dif­fi­cul­ty.

Task number 3

It is rec­om­mend­ed to come up with 2 words that are not relat­ed in mean­ing. One of them will be the begin­ning of the link, and the sec­ond word should com­plete the chain. For exam­ple, the orig­i­nal words are “berry” — “the­ater”. You can get such a chain: berry — jam — cheese­cake — buf­fet — the­ater.

In the fol­low­ing tasks, it is pro­posed to come up with asso­ci­a­tions accord­ing to exter­nal fea­tures, col­or, smell, shape.

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