Categorization of Information and Mnemonic Devices

There are many ways to organize concepts, but one of the most effective methods is by using categories. Categories can be broad or specific; the variation will be dependent on the content to be covered by an individual. The superordinate concept is one of the categories that individuals use to characterize information. A superordinate category is the umbrella term for many subordinate categories, which means it is more broad than specific. Apart from the superordinate concept, there is also the subordinate concept that may commonly be referred to as the child concept. Subordinate concepts are more specific than their parent categories and can cover many different topics under them as it is with the superordinate concept. The last type of concept is called a basic category because it contains only one specific characteristic (McBride & Cutting, 2018). For instance, birds would be considered a basic category because all members of this group have wings and no other characteristics.

Difference between concepts and schemas

Concepts and schemas are two major ways that guide the categorization of information. The use of concepts is primarily meant to create new knowledge, while schemas help ensure there is a better understanding of what is already known by many through providing a structure for organizing observations (McBride & Cutting, 2018). Organization of the information in regards to the things people observe has its basis on the schemas. The structural composition of schemas enhances a better understanding of the world. Cognitive processing of the differences comes in during the learning of concepts and schemas. The tendency to understand and establish a difference is dependant on familiarity among different persons. Cars can serve as a better example when illustrating the difference between schemas and concepts. In a situation where one knows a lot about cars, and they get to see one for the first time, they will have an established schema for cars. However, if they are not familiar with the type of car they see, then their brain creates a new schema based on what it can gather from the observations.

Use of mnemonic devices to conceptualize concepts

The mind is powerful and can produce thoughts, ideas, and memories at rapid speeds. However, it can also be a complicated place that’s hard to navigate when you’re trying to learn new things. Mnemonic devices are critical at this point and help people, both at the social and individual level, remember certain information by associating it with something easier to memorize. Acrostic devices are one of them and are primarily used with names or words that have a lot of syllables. For example, the abbreviation USA, which can also be remembered as the United States of America. Such abbreviations are great examples because they are easy for one to remember. Another type of mnemonic device used to conceptualize concepts is alliteration (McBride & Cutting, 2018). The device comes into place when similar consonant sounds begin each word in a phrase. One common example is “Paul Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers.” The phrases are useful for remembering concepts because they associate the first letter of several words with another letter. The ‘P’s’ at the beginning help many people remember how many peppers Peter Piper collected.

Rhyming devices, on the other hand, help people remember by using similar vowel sounds in each word. One common example is “One if, by land, two if by sea.” This sentence uses ‘I’ and ‘e’ sounds to emphasize that something will either happen one way or another. Rhyming phrases are particularly helpful when it comes to comprehending historical events (McBride & Cutting, 2018). Memories, especially when dealing with concepts, are established by many through the use of imagery. The mnemonic device helps people remember things like colours, shapes, feelings, and many others through exaggerated senses.


McBride, D., & Cutting, C. (2018). Cognitive Psychology: Theory, Process, and Methodology (2nd ed., pp. 488-542). Carlifornia: SAGE Publications.

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PsychologyWriting. "Categorization of Information and Mnemonic Devices." September 13, 2022.