Mind Palace

I’ll tell you a story. It happened a long, long time ago, when I was watching the wonderful program called “Sherlock”. And in one of the episodes (the second of the second season, in case there’s anybody interested) the detective talked about something called “mind palace”.

Immediately after the episode, I googled it up and found a lot about the “Method of Loci”, aka Mind Palace.

 

It’s a very powerful mnemonic technique that allows the user to absorbe great quantities of information quantum-fast by using creativity, free association and a little bit of reconstruction skills.

It goes as it follows: the human brain is brilliant at remembering places and shapes, and it can easily picture itself walking through his home, his parents’ home, or even a friend’s.

It’s also very good with strange things that get its attention. Therefore, you can combinate this two things to make a Mind Palace.

Picture yourself walking through your home (or any place, really). On your way, keep noticing things that are not the background: tables, beds, pictures hanging, plants… They will be called “pegs”

Done? Good.

The next part is getting a list of things to remember, like the following sequence: Chewing gum, pear, bag, german, silicium.

It’s a short list, but it’s just to grasp the idea.

Now, the process consist in making each of those into a ridiculous, catchy picture and associate it to each one of the pegs: your dinning table hanging from a chewing gum balloon in the middle of the room, a plant being eaten by a gigantic pear*, some guy taking the picture out of your wall and putting it into his bag, a gigantic pretzel and a gigantic C  (which reminds of Si, the symbol of Silicium)

* You cannot make the plant simply grow pears, that would not be strange and you will forget it easily

Now, to remind them, you only have to walk again in your Mind Palace, checking that everything is in order.

There are also some tricks to do it with numbers: a spear for one, a swan for two… There is even the Person-Action-Object system that professionals use to remember entire decks of cards, but it would be too long for this post.

Enjoy your new, improved memory!

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