Mnemonics Course (Part 3) – The Method of Loci
Hello and welcome to the third part of the course!
I really do hope that you’re making truly remarkable progress!
Yesterday we concentrated on rules of creating images.
And that’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Now we have to fully understand the second element of memorization.
Choosing the right locations.
You might be adept at creating images.
However, it’s not enough.
Images won’t be very useful without places and locations to place your images in.
THE METHOD OF LOCI (or THE ROMAN ROOM TECHNIQUE)
This technique, as fancy as it sounds, was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
So what’s the gist of its technique?
“In this technique, the subject memorizes the layout of some building, or the arrangement of shops on a street, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember a set of items the subject literally ‘walks’ through these loci and commits an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any distinguishing feature of that locus. Retrieval of items is achieved by ‘walking’ through the loci, allowing the latter to activate the desired items. The efficacy of this technique has been well established (Ross and Lawrence 1968, Crovitz 1969, 1971, Briggs, Hawkins and Crovitz 1970, Lea 1975), as is the minimal interference seen with its use. (Source: Wikipedia)
It’s a very neat definition but it misses one point.
You don’t have to memorize, at least not at the beginning, any layout.
Because you already know the layout of so many places by heart!
Think about it.
You know exactly how your flat / house looks like and probably at least a few places of your friends and family members.
Not to mention restaurants where you frequently eat, your university, movie theatres, etc.
That’s a lot of places you can use!
CREATE YOUR OWN LIST OF LOCATIONS
In order to be able to memorize many items rapidly, we must prepare our own lists of locations.
What are you waiting for?
Grab a piece of paper and pen and get down to work!
Try to prepare at least 30 locations, although ultimately it would be great if you have 100 of them.
One important thing is that these locations should be distinctive to you.
Usually, that means that they are immobile (e.g. furniture) and there are not many copies of them.
If you choose some dull objects or locations and you try to bind them with your image, very often you’ll discover that you simply don’t remember them.
I’ll give you a short example.
Let’s say I want to memorize the words “snake” and “peanuts”.
I would imagine myself reaching for some peanuts which happen to be on my desk in my room (1st location).
Suddenly, I see a snake sitting in my chair (2nd location) which becomes alarmed and tries to bite me.
I start screaming like a little girl and so on, and so on…
Now, here’s the list of 28 words.
Try to memorize them using the techniques you’ve learned so far.
* padlock, uniform, cider, wig, door, curtain, panther
* throne, wardrobe, carpet, kitten, toilet paper, pen
* bacon, vase, salad, spider, radiator, wallet, necklace
* worm, cork, snow, pyjamas, comb, paint, mud
Remember, you’re in the process of rewiring your brain.
It’s natural that using these techniques doesn’t come easily.
If you struggle with creating images in your mind you might try drawing your story at the beginning. ‘
Yes, even when you suck at drawing. Quality is certainly not important.
So go on! What are you waiting for?! Let your imagination run wild!
In two days you can expect a fourth part of the course. This is where it becomes really interesting. We will learn how to quickly acquire foreign vocabulary.
But for now, take some rest. You definitely deserve it!