The Case for Implicit Memory Process as a Tool to Improve Visitors’ Learning in Museums of Fine Arts

By Annalisa Banzi.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Scholars always look for the ideal supportive museum environment where people can easily learn. Many psychological aspects such as motivation, emotion, and attention, affect human learning. The goal of this paper is to analyze whether a well known psychological phenomenon such as priming can enhance learning in museums. Priming, as defined by McNamara (2005), is an improvement (in speed or accuracy to respond to a stimulus) in performance, in a perceptual or cognitive task, relative to an appropriate baseline, produced by context or prior experience. Priming triggers implicit memory processes. Hence it may help people with remembering subjects, colours, and shapes of art works. It is essential to underline the different performance efficacies of explicit memory and implicit memory: whereas retention on standard explicit memory tests typically declines with the passage of time, perceptual priming effects are long-lasting in normal adults and amnesic patients. This strong persistent kind of memory could encourage museum visitors to learn more and better. This paper proposes a future set of museum-based experiments designed to assess whether the effect of facilitation, as previously described, may be produced and exploited in a real environment such as a museum of fine arts.

Keywords: Education, Implicit Memory, Learning, Museum Visitor, Museum of Fine Arts, Priming

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.27-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 934.327KB).

Dr. Annalisa Banzi

Ph.D. Student in Psychology, Institute of Consumer, Behaviour and Organizational Communication Giampaolo Fabris, Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM, Milan, Italy

Annalisa Banzi is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Psychology applied to museum studies. Her PhD main research goal is exploring memory processes in order to trigger and facilitate visitors’ learning. Annalisa Banzi is also interested in improving museum educational resources (wall and caption texts, booklet, etc.) for the purpose of helping people affected by dyslexia. She works as research assistant teaching Psychology of Artistic Communication and Psychology of Artistic Perception at IULM University in Milan. She graduated in Art History-Cultural Heritage Preservation. The thesis focused on the medieval architectural structure of Santo Sepolcro church in Milan.

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