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Encoding plays a major role in processing information and helps us in forming memories. According to Myers (2011, p. 272), encoding refers to the act of processing information into the memory system. There are two types of information processing, namely automatic processing and effortful processing. The kind of processing that is useful to students is the effortful processing, because it helps in producing durable and accessible memories. Human brains process information through encoding its image and meaning and mentally organizing it (Myers, 2011, p. 276).
This paper will deal with my memorizing experience in connection to what Myers has discussed in the memory section. The part which will be the main focus of the story I will narrate is ‘encoding’. All along, I have been wondering how I vividly remember a story I was told by my uncle when I was only five years old. The main reason why I tend to remember each and every detail is because I only saw him once and he passed away the same day due to an accident. He was working and living in a foreign country and that day he had paid our family a visit for the first time since I was born. I asked him how he managed to choose his medical career and his story was as follows.
He woke up one day sick. He had a severe abdominal pains, fever, dizziness, and vomiting. His mother rushed him to a nearby hospital about ten miles away. On arrival to the hospital, he was rushed to the emergency room on a stretcher. He was still a young kid by then. A nurse came, took his details and then examined him. Moments later, the main doctor came and questioned him to establish where his problem was. After a clinical examination, the doctor told him that he was suspecting he could be suffering from appendicitis.
Several tests were carried out; then my uncle did not understand what the doctors were doing, but by the time he was giving this story he named them, but I cannot remember their names simply because I am not in medical profession. A surgery was recommended after the tests and he was told he will undergo it the following day due to the emergency of the disease.
My uncle told me that when he entered the operation room, he felt like running away from the hospital, and he confessed that he screamed loudly because he feared he might die in the operation room. The operation was carried out successfully and he recovered within 10 days, which he told me were the turning point of his career life. This experience was very crucial to him because it made him decide to become a surgeon in his career life. So he told me not to worry about my career life because something would present itself to me and from it, I would decide what I want to be in future, and that was the end of his story.
The imagination of how that story encouraged me could be one of the reasons why I still remember the story as if it was told yesterday. According to Myers ( 2011), we process verbal information for memory storage through encoding its meaning and associating it with what we already know or imagine. Visual encoding/visual imagery also plays a major role in helping me remember this story in its fine details. The words which were used by my uncle lend themselves to visual mental images; thus, it is very easy to remember what he told me, not forgetting that I only saw him once. The story is sorrowful, but it has helped me understand the section of memory very clearly.