The Derek Bok Center at Harvard says memory is a dual process. Or rather, it works via an interchange between regions. (That’s my term, not Harvard’s.) Specifically, items in a mostly conscious region of experience (Harvards “System 2”) and those in a mostly unconscious part (“System 1”). “The remembering tree root and branch system” is dynamic and only partly defined. “Root and branch” are metaphors, but it goes beyond that. (More on this part later…)
Encoding and retrieval — it’s actually what we call memory
But in order to remember, goes the theory, experiences/thoughts must be encoded, so that they can be stored. Encoding is contextual. Then they must be retrieved, which means they must be retrievable… Again, the context which helped encode, is crucial. Many practical memory systems focus heavily on the encoding part.
Quick aside: we just published an article about the “men’s forever weathered cap.” Ok, I like the cap. But… In a way, the whole concept is ridiculous. Why should guys, me included, want a WEATHERED cap? what is the appeal? Short answer, it goes to memory. The weathering, so-called, represents an accumulation of recall, time, and experience. The cap says you are heavy-duty, you’ve been there. Root and branch…
And this goes back to the dual-process concept of memory. The interchange between things now, and the accumulation below, the unconscious. Stuff we don’t remember directly, less tied to time, perhaps, but which provides the register for recall.
Second, anyone remember Harry Lorayne? I say “remember,” but he is still alive, nearing 100, but alive. And perhaps he remembers, because he is, academia notwithstanding, our expert on memory. The remembering tree root and branch in his case means creating unique, memorable images of what you wish to recall later.
Just get a copy of this book below. You won’t need my explanation. Or, there is a more recent method by another author, but the core concepts are similar. (Note, more recent does not necessarily mean better.)
That said, let’s not forget the eeBoo Life on Earth Memory Matching Game for Kids. Inexpensive, great reviews from users.