Many different elements affect our learning style, but one of the most influential elements is the one related to the way in which we select and represent information.
We all receive an enormous amount of information at all times through our senses, and all this information comes from the world that surrounds us. Our brain selects some of this information and ignores the rest. If, for example, after a trip we ask a group of tourists to describe one of the places they visited, then probably each one of them will talk about different things, because each one of them noticed different things. We can’t remember everything that happens, but rather just part of what happens around us.
Naturally, we select the information we focus on based on how interesting it is to us. It’s easier to remember our wedding than just any other day. But, the way in which we receive the information is important as well.
Some of us tend to pay more attention to the information we receive visually, others pay more attention to the auditory information they receive, and others pay more attention to the information they receive through the other senses.
Paying more attention to one type of information than another seems to be directly related to the way in which we remember that information later on.
Even though research on memory has just started, it seems it’s very clear that our brain is not a filing cabinet in which we keep pictures or recordings of what surrounds us. When we remember something, we don’t get back a recording stored in a filing cabinet, but rather, we create a representation of what we want to remember, based on diverse information.
When we pay more attention to the information we receive visually, it’s easier to reconstruct the visual information in our mind. Or, said in another way, it’s easier to represent visually the things we already know.