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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Method of Loci

In the previous two memory improvements techniques, the name of the techniques could help you figure out about the technique to a greater extent. I guess the situation is not the same today. Before getting into what "Method of Loci" actually is, I am going to tell a story, a story of an amazing memory man. This story was covered by the BBC and the man in this story is, in fact, the world memory champion 2002. His name is Andi Bell.

Once Andi Bell was given ten shuffled packs of playing cards and given 20 minutes to memorize every single card. When he was tested, he correctly remembered the position of all 520 cards in the pack and also the value of every single card.

Andi explained, "When I memorize a deck of cards, I turn each card into a picture and this is the colorful animal or object that I associate with the particular card to memorize it."

He called this method of his "Location Method". In this method he created a bizarre journey with a cost of colorful images and characters. He imagined taking the journey and associated the pictures and images passing by with the cards to memorize them. He said "As a child I had a conventionally good memory. But once you learn a technique like the location technique, it takes everything beyond what you can do naturally."

If analyzed minutely, Andi’s method of location is, in fact, a variation in an ancient method called the "Method of Loci". Method of Loci was first described by Greek Scholar Simonides in 500 BC in which memory power is drastically increased by using a well known location to place things that you wish to remember. This method was initially used by the orators to remember their speech.

To use this technique, you must identify a common path that you can easily remember. This can be the one from your school to home or from your kitchen to your room. The path that you chose needs to be familiar to you. Once you have determined your path, imagine yourself walking along it and identify specific landmarks that you will pass (your door, the bus stop etc.). Then associate each piece of the information that you wish to remember with these landmarks. At the beginning, this might be a bit difficult but trust me, this method is the most ancient and the most efficient method ever devised.


TJ said...

That is some very interesting info on memory. I have heard many variations on the "location" method. Some people say that they imagine walking a familiar route, even through their own home. As they enter each room on their path they mentally place various items along the route. Although it would have to be a big hotel to have 520 rooms!

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