Amazing Science Facts Brain & Behaviour Psychology

Method of Loci

Written by Mahad Qureshi

So before you guys start thinking “oh look another science related boring article.” Let me tell you this is not. In this article, I’ll explain about an ancient memory technique (but not in an ancient way). Not just explaining more like how to use it in daily life to increase your memory, remember complex things/long lists etc in a fun way actually. But first let me clear one thing well it’s not like, it’s gonna help you to remember all the details (birthdays, anniversaries etc) about your partner (no one can really do that) you would still have to go through all that.

How it works and what is it?

Basically, the first thing you do is to imagine a place which is familiar to you, a place where you can wander in your imagination and remember all the details about it. Then you pick something you want to memorize let’s say you want to remember a list and the place is umm your house.

  • Banana
  • Ketchup
  • Shaving Cream

So you can remember it by imagining that when you was at the door the shaving cream was sprayed all over the door and then you walked in the room then there was this huge ketchup bottle sitting on sofa walking and talking while the banana can be running down stairs to eat you. So later when you want to remember the list you will again imagine walking in your house you will see nothing and remember nothing obviously you are new to this you want to practice it a lot, if you want to get a hold of this. Only then, you will be able to remember anything when you walk in the place. This is basically how method of loci works. Yes it gets a little complex when you want to remember difficult things and long lists. It is used by many artists and people who participate in memory competitions etc. This is perhaps why we now say “in the first place.”

loci

However for every different type of data the way you visualize and imagine it can be different I’ll mention about some generic data types and scenarios.

Speech: To remember a speech you should take in account that it should include a beginning, middle and end.

Objects/Special names/Images: They can be placed on furniture turned into moving objects, or maybe marked on different objects/fused with different objects and so on.

There’s no rule for what to use and imagine you can use whatever you feel like is easy to remember. Yes there are some things which will help you with this, I am mentioning them below, as the sole purpose of this article is to let people know about it and help them use it.

  • Use a familiar place
  • Use strange (striking) but relevant images
  • Review the scenario (mental images) again and again in your brain
  • While trying to remember you can actually use the real place to wander and imagine placing objects etc.
  • You can color the objects or imagine their color that will really help later
    When association-based memory techniques fail.

    When association-based memory techniques fail.

  • Start with a small place to get used to it. Then use a bigger place to make literally a memory palace till then use a memory road (LOL)
  • You can imagine real human beings but yes don’t use any Europeans in your imagination cause they will look all same and will confuse you (no offence though).
  • Mark some well defined parts (more prominent) in room and use them later to store things example: bed, light bulb fan etc.

I didn’t mention any details about who invented it and how etc. Well you guys can read all that by googling it or from reference links but yes the Greek poet named Simonides invented it.

nuremberg_chronicles_f_60r_3

 

 

References for further reading:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci
2. http://mt.artofmemory.com/
3. http://mt.artofmemory.com/forums/method-of-loci
4. http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/nervous-system/how-to-improve-your-memory7.htm

Think you have seen a thing before as well? What is Deja Vu anyway? Read here!

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About the author

Mahad Qureshi

Not a writer nor a scientist or something big. Just a random guy trying to fulfill his curiosities :P