Sample Research Paper on Psychology of Learning

Definition of terms
– Traumatic- This is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of severely
distressing event.

– Repression- The psychological attempt by an individual to repel one’s own desires
and impulses toward pleasurable instincts.

– Retrieval- The process of accessing information from memory.

– Acronyms- A word formed by combining the initial letters of a multipart name.
It’s initialism

1(a) Discuss the reasons why people forget important information.
Some people can remember almost everything that happened long time back,
some remember a few things, and others remember almost nothing. Here are some of the
reasons why people forget important information:
1. Due to failure of thinking about an issue- An early theory of forgetting was the
law of disuse which said that memories fade away and disappear across time if
they are not used. This theory is not widely held today because it is not supported
by data. Studies on remembering Spanish vocabulary and names of high school
classmates indicate that a relatively high percentage of memories remain after 30-
40 years, even if they are not used.
2. If something traumatic happened- According to Sigmund Freud, repression is an
unconscious process of forgetting during which information that is threatening to
our self- concept or that makes us feel anxious is automatically prevented from
reaching consciousness. Although it is difficult to demonstrate repression with
standard experiments, many clinical psychologists report seeing evidence of
repression during therapy.
3. Interference- This means that other memories may interfere with or prevent
retrieval of some particular memory. According to interference theory, we forget
information not because it is lost from storage but rather because other
information gets in the way and blocks or interferes with its retrieval.
4. Inadequate retrieval cues which means there are too few associations or reminders
(retrieval cues) so that memories cannot be retrieved. Retrieval cues are reminders
we create when we associate new information with information that we already
know. Because inadequate retrieval cues may lead to forgetting, you will better
remember concepts, definitions, terms dates, and formulas if you make
associations rather than just repeat, read or underline material. The more
associations you make between new and old information, the better your chances
of retrieving that information.
5. Amnesia, which is loss of memory that may occur after damage to the brain
(temporary or permanent) or after severe psychological stress. For example,
striking one’s head during a car accident will usually wipe out all memories
immediately during and after the accident. Loss of memory may only affect new
memories (Anterograde amnesia), only old memories (retrograde amnesia) or
sometimes both. Anterograde Amnesia is the loss of memory for events and facts
that occur after brain damage, although memories formed before the damage
remain intact. Retrograde amnesia is a loss of memory for events prior to brain
damage or trauma but no loss of memory for events occurring a short time after
the brain damage or trauma.

6. According to researchers, stress may be the culprit behind day-to-day memory
problems. ABC News reports that researchers in the medical community refer to
this affliction as “subjective cognitive impairment” or “busy life syndrome”.
Dr. David Ballard of the American Psychological Association suggests that the
inundation of information via work, phones, texting and internet helps contribute
to this problem. “The quantity of information and data out there is just too much
to process,” he explained to ABC News. “People forget keys, forget why they
came there.”
(b) Analyze strategies that a teacher should take to increase or enhance
students’ memory in a classroom situation.
Memory is the process by which the brain stores, categorizes and retrieves
information. Short term memory refers to the information we are currently paying
attention to. In order to remember the information for more than a few seconds,
the brain must actively process the information and convert it for storage, known
as long term memory. The teacher can apply the following methods in enhancing
children’s memory in a classroom through the following ways:
– A teacher should help the students to be able to group things into categories- this
helps in better organization and help to store information in memory. Grouping
things helps the students to identify things without relearning.
– A teacher should make it habit for the students to sit for assessment tests
regularly and this helps to enhance the ability to remember the information learnt
in class.
– The teacher should expose the students that will make the students to think
critically to get answers to complex situations. For instance, the teacher should
always leave the class with a question to think about. Through the exercising of
their minds. Minds grow stronger when they are continually exercised.
– Active reading- In this learning method, students should write important items.
They should write down key words, definitions or phrases in every chapter, doing
so helps them to understand key concepts in the reading. In addition, students
should organize information into an outline which helps to recall information
more easily. Active reading exercises in the classroom helps to transfer
information from short- term memory to long- term memory.
– Use of multiple directions in teaching- The Center for Development and
Learning says that teaching both visually and verbally makes students more
successful in both understanding and recalling of information. The teachers can
determine whether the students are retaining information is to encourage them to
repeat the directions and define each. For instance, instead of using only a visual
reference to teach new concepts, the teacher can also use audiotape that explains
the same information.

– Retrieval Practice- To ensure that students are storing the most relevant
information in each lesson; teachers can instruct them to create their own tests
with questions and answers they make up. This teaching method engages students
and allows them to participate in learning. It also enhances memory retrieval
process by allowing students to practice recalling information. The teacher is able
to know whether the child is retaining the most relevant information in each
– Develop Cues- Students improve their chances of recalling and retrieving
information by using cues. Cues are abbreviations or acronyms that help students
to remember important information. For cues to be efficient, they must be present
during recall. For instance, if students are learning about the directions on a
compass, they can use the phrase, “Never eat sour watermelons” Each word
represents a letter of a direction of the compass: N, E, S and W.


Memory is very important in the learning process. Learning is dependent
on children’s ability to retain and recall information that they receive. If they are
not able to grasp and keep a hold of what they have learnt, it would be trying to
fill a bottomless pit and their knowledge would not increase. It is therefore
important to have a reliable memory to allow for learning.

1. Anne W. Njenga and Margaret N. Kabiru, 2007, Child Development, Focus
Publishers Ltd, Nairobi.

2. Bransford, J. Human Cognition: Learning, Understanding and remembering.
Belmont, C.A, Wadsworth Publishers.

3. E. Hendrikz, Introduction to Educational Psychology, Macmillan Publishers,
4. Harman, W., An Incomplete guide to the future, The Lyons Press, 1992.
5. Michael M. Ndurumo, Exceptional Children- Developmental Consequences and
Intervention, Longman Kenya, 1991.