In Learners By Yuliya

The Memory Palace Technique, or what to patch leaky memory?

«My memory is excellent, but short.»

Unknown author

Of all the rhetorical questions that we often ask ourselves, is the most common: «How could I have / could forget?». In everyday life, we are constantly confronted with a huge amount of information both useful and absolutely no interest to us, and when it comes to remembering certain events, facts, or just words in the study of a foreign language, our «operating system» may fail. As the axiom Leo Beyzer «Laying something in the computer memory, remember where you put it.» Learning how to cope with this problem, namely the erasure of certain concepts of our minds, we can help The Memory Palace Technique (technique of «memory palace»). This technique is easy to master, it does not require special skills. Developed by the ancient Greeks, and it was used for storing his public appearances, so that it will be useful for future speakers and for those who just can not remember the content of the elementary list of necessary purchases.

So, let’s see how this works?

All that we need when using this technique, it is:

  • Well familiar place (familiar place).
  • Imagination (vivid imagination).

Step 1. You need to choose a so-called memory palace («memory palace»), that is, the place that you are mentally (in your mind’s eye) can be described in detail (picture vividly), such as your home, apartment or place operation. It is desirable that you selected «palace» there is as much room.

Step 2. Create a specific route (chart a specific route) movement in each of the corners (through every nook and cranny) you have selected «palace». Mentally imagine how you pass several times by each of the rooms in order. Always carefully follow the same planned route.

Step 3. Go through each of the rooms in the same direction, e.g., left to right. Keep track of all the objects (features), who are in this room and found you on the way, such as a desk lamp, wastebasket, cabinet or painting. Imagine each of these items as a «cell» to remember (as a «memory slot»).

Step 4. Locate Association (associate) for a fact or concept that you want to remember, one of the items in each room «memory palace». Position (locate) them on the route in the order in which you want them to remember. The absurd, ridiculous and even more stupid to be your association, the better they will be remembered — that’s a fact! Exaggeration (exaggerate images) will also contribute (aid in) the process of remembering (recall process). For example (for instance), if you need to buy apples, imagine that one of your indoor plants are covered with a large choice kilograms of apples.

Step 5. Start your route from the start and visit each room, noting every object in it in turns to quickly and easily recall all the information (to readily recall the information), that you had to capture in his memory. And soon people will notice and point out that you have an excellent memory.

What are the advantages of this technique of memorizing, and most importantly, the storage of information in our memory?

  1. First of all, you do not need to write anything down. Using the Memory Palace Technique you can not make a shopping list before going to the store. Most of us, I think, agree with me that even if we took with them to the store this saving list, and have left him blithely lie where we were (which also happens quite often!), We constantly have it look, because once we remove it in your pocket or bag, then immediately forget its contents.
  2. We can mentally plan and, most importantly, to remember that we need to do today, tomorrow, next week, and so on. E., Even while on the treadmill at the gym.
  3. If you are preparing a public speech or presentation, here the system is indispensable, because you can easily remember all the key moments of his speech, and even play them in random order. Actually for this purpose by the ancient Greeks and created this technique.
  4. To memorize new foreign words, not necessarily (rather ineffective) their monotonous cramming, use the association. Your imagination can help a foreign word to you and give you a key image, which is then you put in place the appropriate logical meaning of the word in your native language. And then, for a bunch of keywords and imagine some bright picture. For example, remembering the word dresser (dresser, closet), imagine that the cabinet is in your bedroom, where you dress (get dressed → dresser). Or imagine the same locker full of beautiful dresses — dresses, similar dress → dresser.
  5. Finally, it should be easy to remember any list of certain concepts (for example, when preparing for exams), and then even after a long period without effort to recall him at full strength.

The Memory Palace Technique is also known by names such as The Loci System (/ loʊˌsaɪ / pl. Number of Latin. «Locus» — the place) or the Method of Loci (method of loci). In fact it is the same, the only difference is that here we do not need a «palace», instead use a particular route of movement, such as sightseeing or any other interest, and most importantly you are familiar places. And in the rest all well: following the route, we need to find associations between place and that information, facts, concepts, which we would like to remember.

From theory to practice. So how do you use this technique in real life, and what results it helps achieve? This will lead us, Andy Bell, who won the world championship in 2002 memorization.

How to train your memory

  • Neural / njʊərəl / pathway — the neural pathway.
  • A route / ru: t, raʊt / — route, course, journey.
  • Brain sells — brain cells.
  • To retrieve / rɪtri: v / facts — to extract facts from memory recall.
  • To trigger / trɪgɚ / (the same pathway) — cause; run; provoking.
  • To recall the exact position — to remember the exact location / room.
  • A deck (of cards) — a deck of cards.
  • To shuffle (cards) — shuffle the cards.
  • Literally — literally, exactly.
  • In rapid succession / ræpəd səksɛʃən / — in quick succession.
  • To be up — end.
  • Referee / ˌrɛfəri: / — judge.
  • At random — random, blindly.
  • Six of spades — six of spades.
  • Queen of hearts — Queen of Hearts.
  • Ten of diamonds — a dozen diamonds.
  • King of diamonds — king of diamonds.
  • The ace of hearts — the ace of hearts.
  • Jack of clubs — the jack of clubs.
  • No matter — it does not matter, does not matter.
  • To father — create, invent; invent.
  • Memory technique — technique of memorizing.
  • Landmark — Landmark Landmark; conspicuous object on the ground.
  • To establish (a route) — to create; organize.
  • A saw / sɑ: / — saw.
  • Cast of characters — the characters’ actions.
  • Conventionally / kənvɛnʃənl̟i / — probation; Traditionally, usually.
  • Location — site location, specific locations.
  • Advantage — an advantage.
  • Astonishing / əstɑ: nɪʃɪŋ / fits of memory — the amazing properties / display memory.

«It’s one thing to fill your brain with facts, it’s quite another thing though to remember them. So how do we do it? Well, memorizing something is rather like what happens when we set up a line of dominoes. When we commit a fact of memory we create a neural pathway to it — a route of connecting brain cells to whatever that memory’s stored in our brain and to retrieve those facts all we have to do is to trigger the same pathway back to them. It sounds easy, and for some people at least it really is. This is Andi Bell. In 2002 he was crowned World Memory Champion. But just how good is he? Today we’ve set him a test: he is going to try to recall the exact position of every single card in ten whole decks. That’s 520 cards that have been shuffled by us. And he’s only got 20 minutes to look at them. Andi has developed a special technique which allows him to remember literally thousands of items in rapid succession. The twenty minutes are up. Can Andi remember the position of the cards our referee selects at random?

So deck # 1, the very first card you saw?

— First card was the six of spades.

The same deck card # 23?

— The twenty third card was the queen of hearts.

Deck 2, card # 27?

Ten of diamonds.

No matter how many cards we fathered him: «That was the king of diamonds», — Andi remembered them perfectly: «48th card was the ace of hearts». In fact, Andi is able to recall all 520 cards: «Jack of clubs», — every one correct and in a right order: «Queen of spades». So, what’s his secret?

Before he even sits down with a deck of cards Andi uses his memory technique. He takes a walk round London visiting a series of landmarks in a particular order. Number 1 might be the Houses of Parliament and number 2 — Westminster Bridge. He walks the route several times to establish it in his mind. But that’s just the first stage, the second is putting his imagination to work.

— When I memorize a deck of cards I turn each card into a picture and this is a colorful animal or object that I’ve learned to associate with that particular card.

The jack of clubs becomes a little bear, the nine of diamonds — a saw, and the two of spades — a pineapple. Then Andi puts the two stages together — in his mind he imagines walking around London on his route and when he passes the Houses of Parliament he imagines the little bear with the saw and pineapple. Andi creates a journey in his mind with this cast of characters.

— As a child I had conventionally good memory. But once you learn a technique, like the location method I use, it takes everything beyond what you could possibly do naturally.

Scientists have discovered that our mind is better at remembering a route between the locations then it is at remembering unconnected facts and figures.

— I think I have the same mental equipment as everybody else. So, it’s something anybody can do.

When we use simple stories to memorize facts we’re creating several pathways to where those memories are formed in the brain. It’s as if instead of lining up one set of dominoes we are setting up several. The reason we often have difficulties at retrieving our memory is because one neural pathway can easily get broken. But by having several different pathways to our memory it means that if one does not manage to reach it, another one will. That’s the advantage of the story technique. It creates lots of neural pathways in our brain and all our brains can work in this way which is why everyone can use this method. By using a story to memorize facts we all have the potential to perform astonishing fits of memory. »

As we have learned, The Memory Palace Technique help us to remember any information (facts, concepts, foreign words) and with special zeal, even make us champion memorization. This technique is not complicated and does not require special abilities, each of us can find a use for it, and then reap the rewards of amazing manifestations of human memory. And in conclusion of this article, I have chosen a few English Memory Idioms, which is the equivalent expressions used by us in everyday life:

  • Have not a clue — do not have any idea (about anything).

    I have not a clue what the capital of Ukraine is. Can you help me?

  • Slip one’s mind — to fly out of his head; forget anything.

    I was going to call you but I’m afraid it completely slipped my mind.

  • You «can not make head nor tail» of smth — can not understand something.

    I’m trying to assemble this IKEA table and I can not make head nor tail of the instructions.

  • Lose one’s train of thoughts — to lose your train of thought; forget about what had just said.

    «Sorry, I’ve lost my train of thoughts. What was I saying? »

  • On the tip of one’s tongue — the language of spins.

    What’s that man’s name again? It’s on the tip of my tongue.

  • Beats me! — I can not imagine! No idea!

    It beats me why this coffee machine will not work. Everything appears OK with it.

  • Rack one’s brain — head to break.

    I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember the name of that film we saw last week.



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