Semantic Memory: Tried And True Tips On How To Improve It
Updated on January 31, 2024
5 min read

Semantic Memory: Tried And True Tips On How To Improve It

Table of Contents

There is a wide range of memory types. Understanding how they work, the purpose of each memory mechanism, and what are the hacks and tricks for their strengthening will make a difference in how you collect and encode information. One of the types to be aware of is semantic memory. Since semantic memories are created through more profound and more meaningful processing than other methods of information encoding, improvement of this memory type means better recall. So let’s unclose semantic memory psychology definition, ways of its growth, and learn its examples.

Memories created with a high level of understanding are known as semantic encoding. It is responsible for processing and remembering explicit facts and clear concepts which are not associated with how we perceive this world. Upgrading this category of memory with various exercises, activities, and techniques, such as memory palace and mind mapping, creates a ground for better information retrieval.

An Example-Driven Definition

When we answer a simple question, for example, how many hours does one day have, we cannot detect the moment in the past when we discovered it. However, we automatically know the accurate answer. It is a clear example of semantic processing. It means that for retrieving one concrete fact, piece of knowledge, or statement, we don’t have to focus on the way we discovered it. Thus, it can be concluded that this type of memory usually includes information that we will retain during our whole life if grabbed it once. What are other examples? Let’s explore them in more detail.

Semantic Memory Examples

Generally, it is about a recollection of gained information and types of knowledge not connected with one’s emotional state. Of course, all these pieces of data processed by semantic type of memorization might be intertwined with our lives, experiences, the surrounding world, and culture. But these memories are built without biases, personal views, or attitudes. Recalling dates when famous people were born or the names of oceans, we launch our semantic memory. It also helps us know that the black bear is a mammal, our Sun is a star, Jupiter is the largest planet in our universe, there are seven continents, and the pumpkin is a fruit. We simply know these facts gained earlier, and there is no need to walk through our memory storage and seek extra information about the bear, the Sun, or pumpkins.

Importance Of Semantic Memory

Semantic memory is imperative, as it is devoted to facts, events, definitions, data processing, and encoding. We grab that information symbolically by our memory, and then we can recall and convey it using language in response to a concrete request. This type of memory helps us to shape a mental system of well-organized facts and words that our brains keep throughout our whole life. It is essential for us, as by accumulating cognitive resources, we are capable of instantly and efficiently interpreting the environment, objects, and things that surround us. We can group numerous specific concepts, such as animals, objects, and vegetables, into general categories. Semantic encoding exists to classify an endless amount of areas. But its capacity of it still can be limited. So, to be able to remember more facts, it is pivotal to make this type of memory stronger.

Semantic Memories: How They Are Formed

It is considered that semantic memories and information are gained via the episodic type of memory. Thus, the freshly acquired information is relayed to your episodic memory,  activating some brain regions, such as the hippocampus. With time, this knowledge becomes generalized and reshapes into semantic memories. For example, you can remember what you did on your first day at school and your emotions. It is an episodic category of memories. When this information is generalized, all that’s left is the date it happened, your age, or what school it was. It is a long-term semantic group of memories.

What Can Affect Semantic Memory?

Unfortunately, there can be some disorders associated with semantic processing. Sometimes, the brain may fail to find the appropriate meaning for a concept. It is a serious and really warning sign of dementia. It requires immediate action to support the well-being of an individual, as it can really affect the lifestyle. Prefrontal Cortex damage is another issue that can bring troubles with memory. Alzheimer’s disease is considered a lesion for memory and cognitive function, as its symptoms also include poor fact recall.

Techniques For Improving Semantic Memory

By practicing the recall of facts, you actively improve memory, forcing your mind to encode that information and putting it in your long-term storage. Repetition of the information is the most efficient way to create strong memories for recalling them later. Therefore, it is critical for successful learning. Unfortunately, most individuals tend to skip brain training. However, if you strive to easily absorb complex facts and enhance the implementation of cognitive-related tasks, you are obliged to incorporate memory-boosting exercises into your daily routine.

Memory Palace

The concept might be well known to those who have already trained their memory. However, you can diversify the algorithm of encoding. Thus, consider some real locations or routes. After, you have to select sublocations. For example, you’ve decided to memorize a list of new scientific definitions. You have to take one definition and connect it with one sublocation. Try to design outrageous and vivid connections, so your mind will hold them, and they won’t be easily erased from mind storage. To retrieve those definitions, you have to walk the location mentally. When training your mind maps, always verify if your associations and images are powerful enough. And rehearse each map several times for maximized results.

Exercise Brain

You must generate one single program of well-selected activities purported to keep your mind sharp and ensure rapid response, recall, and encoding. It can be any type of scientifically proven activity: sudoku, chess, reading, art. There are some unusual solutions, such as using a non-dominant hand, participating in social activities or mixing socially with others, or even doing burpees. A powerful strategy will not only strengthen your semantic memory but also will help to stave off signs of its deterioration.

Learn Language

In order to challenge our skill of semantic encoding, it is advised to learn new languages.  Discovering completely different sentence structures and diving into new rules of grammar will facilitate information processing. It, in turn, will reshape your learning styles and expand your memory capacity. You can also add a new culture that is totally different from yours, as exposing your mind to new ideas can grow intelligence, nurture curiosity and creativity, and also bring positive changes to how you encode facts.

Is It Different From Episodic Memory?

A lot of brain researchers assume that the semantic type of memorization is activated by the same system of our brain involved in the episodic one. Our brain needs to launch our episodic type of memory that allows learning new facts to shape semantic memories. However, while the semantic type of memory entails learning general ideas, the episodic one is more about a particular experience. Comparing episodic vs. semantic memory, it can be noticed that what we ate for dinner is an episodic memory example. Knowing the foods and products that have vitamin C in their composition and are good for our health is a type of semantic memorization.


What is a semantic memory Quizlet?

It is the portion of declarative memory, the main function of which is to hold general concepts and ideas that are not connected with emotions.

What is semantic memory also known as?

It can also be classed as an explicit type of memory. The concept means that you can consciously recollect knowledge.

What is semantic memory, according to Tulving?

According to Tulving’s Model, the semantic type of memorization is interpreted as meanings collected by our mind and placed into long-term storage.

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