It is often thought that remembering a poem or a definition by heart is synonymous with intelligence. But is it really so?
Does memory feed intelligence? It is often thought that remembering a poem or a definition by heart is synonymous with intelligence. But is it really so? Professor Giacomo Stella explains the relationship that exists between memory and intelligence.
“In a letter to his nephew, Umberto Eco recommended learning the Vispa Teresa by heart. The importance of the character can lead us to think that memory is fundamental in the development of intelligence "explains Professor Stella. But what relationship really exists between memorization and intelligence? Neuroscience has shown that memory develops learning skills, but not intelligence.
Memory in the school context
“Memory is a fundamental system for development as it allows the stabilization of information. However, memory is a system made up of several components including working memory, semantic memory and long-term memory ”continues Professor Stella. In the school context, long-term memory often takes on a central value and students are "rewarded" when they are able to repeat the words in the book and the definitions from memory.
Also Valentina Secchi, Learning Technician of a specialist After School, explains that "the school focuses on the basis of the learning pyramid, or the ability to memorize and remember information". However, for students with SLD, the memorization of information represents an obstacle to learning. In fact, students with SLD often find it difficult to memorize the times tables or nursery rhymes because they are abstract concepts. For this, it is essential to provide them with tools to support memory, such as mind maps.
Does memory develop intelligence?
"Memory does not develop intelligence" says Professor Stella. This is because intelligence develops through another type of operations such as, for example, categorization and cognitive transfer from one context to another. Furthermore, it is important to nurture long-term memory as it otherwise decays. This is demonstrated by the fact that we do not remember everything we have studied during the school years.
The goal of memory is in fact to provide useful information for the decision-making process, based on past experiences. What matters, therefore, is not knowing how to quickly repeat the times tables or the nursery rhyme, but knowing how to use memory to understand these concepts.
To hear the words of Prof. Giacomo Stella on the relationship between memory and intelligence, watch the video.