39 Module Introduction

Learning, Memory, and Intelligence

Module Introduction

Topics Covered:

  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Intelligence

This module will cover chapters 6, 7, and 8 in the text. These are grouped together because they are so closely tied to one another. Because there is more material covered in this module, you should plan to spend more time on this module reading the assigned chapters and accessing the “Links to Learning”, as well as covering supplemental material designed to enhance the learning experience.

As a college student, the topics of learning, memory and intelligence are probably very important to you. You may have wished for a “photographic memory” before that chemistry test. Perhaps you had a difficult time “learning” the formulas you needed for algebra or the important dates in a history class. Hopefully this module will help you examine your study habits and improve your performance. To improve, you must first understand what is meant by “learning”, how memory works, and what intelligence is, other than your I.Q. Most of all, however, we will strive to understand the problems we face in the world of “information overload”, we need to know how it is affecting us and how we can cope with this problem.

Our rapid access to information is changing the way we learn, the way we remember, and the way in which we understand and measure intelligence. In this module we will study some of the basics of these three processes however we will also read and view some ideas and problems that arise with our rapidly changing technology. On-line classes, such as this one, have challenged educators and learners, to change the way learning takes place. Technology has impacted learning in five major ways: Accessibility, Motivation and Accountability, Cost Effectiveness, Convenience, and Relevancy. (6) For all of the advantages in this information age, we are seeing disadvantages as well. Learning is both positively and negatively affected by devices in the classroom. Students engaged in social networking or gaming, instead of listening attentively, may loose 40% of the material they should be focused on. Research results support the inability to multitask successfully. Students coming out of public school systems may have been taught to pass a test rather than to think and reason, to conceptualize and understand. One thing we know is that “ Memorization is not Learning ”.

In this module we will address learning from a behavioral stand point (classical and operational conditioning), as well as observational learning and vicarious learning. You will want to access your “Links to Learning” to help you understand these concepts. Your supplemental material will also focus on some interesting work being done in the area of learning.

Thinking and Intelligence is covered to teach you how we think, problem-solve, and create. Creativity is not just for artists! We use creativity to solve problems, come up with new ideas to better our lives, and to work more efficiently. You will understand the concept of intelligence from a historical perspective as well as our more modern concepts of what it means to be intelligent. Just as our methods of learning are changing, our concept of “intelligence” is also evolving to better reflect changes in our society. Intelligence is seen as being multi-faceted, not just the numerical I.Q. we have focused on in the past. Today’s tests of “intelligence” focus more on logic and problem solving abilities, so learning to think (not memorize) is essential and a skill most of us take for granted. (2)

Last, but not least, Memory must be understood in order to understand our mental processes as human beings. Without memory, we could not learn, think, or become intelligent human beings. Without memory we would exist, totally, in a world of the here and now. Memory gives us a past and a future. Memory is essential to our personality, our performance, and our possibilities. For students, memory is of utmost importance, however students are not taught skills for maximizing memory potential. Today, humans are showing a slight reduction in memory ability. While our electronic devices have increased productivity in many ways, they have reduced our short term memory span. Before we became so connected to, and dependent on, our devices, the average human had a short term memory of 5-9 bits of information (think social security number). Some testing now shows a reduction to about 4 bits of information.

In order to maximize memory, and our other intellectual and reasoning abilities, we must have an understanding of how memory works. Research on memory is currently being done in relation to the Human Brain Project and we continue to study the memory processes, not only to maximize our brain ability at earlier stages of life, but also to deal with the growing issue of dementia and Alzheimer’s faced by our aging population. The text will cover methods you may try to increase your memory abilities for that next chemistry, algebra, or history test. (2)

Learning Outcomes Related to this Module

1. Demonstrates the ability to think critically 3. Articulates an understanding of the individual in society 6. Comprehends the biopsychosocial aspects of behavior and mental processes 7. Synthesizes empirical information to draw accurate evidence-based conclusions about behavior and mental processes 8. Comprehends the basic concepts and investigative processes of the scientific method as applied to psychology


Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  1. Define theories of learning
  2. Define theories of memory and how memories are constructed
  3. Identify concepts of intelligence and how intelligence is measured
  4. Identify thought processes and problem solving
  5. Define parts of the brain involved with memory
  6. Define methods for enhancing memory (1)

Assigned Readings

  • Module 5 Introduction
  • Psychology, OpenStax Text .
    • Chapter 6 – Learning
    • Chapter 7 – Thinking and Intelligence
    • Chapter 8 – Memory

Note: You will need to click on “Get This Book” button to download the textbook. Students are not required to purchase a textbook. You can download the entire Psychology textbook from OpenStax for free.

Supplemental Material/Resources

(Note: This material, in the media form of online videos, is considered supplemental and thus is not used for assessment purposes.)

Assignments | Learning Activities

  • Read Module Introduction
  • Complete assigned readings
  • Submit Assignment: Critical Thinking Assignment #5
  • Participate in Discussion #3


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

General Psychology Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book