Got Neurons? Teaching Neuroscience Mnemonically Promotes Retention and Higher-Order Thinking

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether introductory psychology students could make effective use of the mnemonic keyword method in: (a) initially acquiring 26 neuroscience terms; (b) retaining this information over time; and (c) applying what they learned to a task requiring some degree of higher-order thinking. In two separate classes, 70 participants were trained either to use the keyword method or their own best method to study the neuroscience terms. After a 5-day delay, students returned to complete an unannounced assessment of the neuroscience terms. Based on a reduced sample of 58 ‘eligible' participants, results indicated that students using the keyword method outperformed their own-best-method counterparts on immediate, delayed, and higher-order thinking assessments. The findings support the literature on the utility and power of the keyword method in actual psychology classroom learning contexts.

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Richmond, Aaron S., Russell N. Carney, and Joel R. Levin. "Got neurons? Teaching neuroscience mnemonically promotes retention and higher-order thinking." Psychology Learning & Teaching 10, no. 1 (2011): 40-45.

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