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What Is the Connection between Memory and Concentration?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2016
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Memory describes one's ability to recall certain events, facts, and skills while concentration refers to the ability to focus one's attention on some particular subject or part of the environment to the exclusion of others. The clearest link between memory and concentration can be seen in the fact that people are more likely to recall information or events on which they concentrate. A person who is concentrating on reading a book, for instance, is more likely to remember information from the book than lyrics from a song playing in the background. Another link between memory and concentration is evident in the fact that, in some cases, memory actually directs concentration; people tend to direct their focus on the environment based on their memories, as memory can give context for concentration.

Increased concentration improves one's ability to commit various aspects of the objects of concentration to memory. This connection between memory and concentration is of great interest to psychologists, education professionals, and students. Memorization is an important aspect of education in both academia and in job training. Learners can use the connection between memory and concentration to improve the rate at which they are able to memorize information. There are many different actions that one can take to improve one's concentration, thereby improving memory.

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Memory and concentration can be drastically improved by controlling one's learning environment. Avoiding distractions such as phones, background music, and television allows one to direct attention to the material that needs to be memorized. Even if these distractions remain in the background, they can still interfere with concentration, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of the link between memory and concentration. Studying in a quiet space containing all necessary study materials and no distractions protects one's concentration against external distraction and can greatly enhance the rate at which one can memorize a large amount of information.

The link between memory and concentration works both ways — memory can have a direct effect on how one focuses his concentration. This is particularly true in familiar environments in which one has spent a great deal of time. In a new environment, such as a new office, an individual who needs a pen will likely search the office until he finds what he is looking for. Someone who is familiar with the office and the position of items within the office will direct his concentration on a location where he knows, based on past experience, that he will find a pen. Memory, therefore, directs concentration in such situations.

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