leah blogs

August 2005

03aug2005 · An interesting memorization technique

Did it ever happen to you that you needed to remember a few (sometimes unrelated) things, and far too quickly forgot them? Say you wanted to go shopping, or you recalled some things to google for, and there was just no piece of paper available.

If not, you can as well skip this post. (And, even better, tell me what you did to make it never happen to you?)

Or maybe you can even remember the things, but you have trouble recalling all of them. Try that on your own: Do you remember all the Beatles’ names? I always have trouble finding the last one.

I therefore decided to come up with an memorization technique on my own. I did not look how other people do it (and you know, there are people that are very good at remembering huge amounts of data in short time), just to avoid copying other methods (it is said that Feynman did his research that way too, something along “tell me about their problems, but not their solutions”).

I think I have a fairly good mind for visuals and words, therefore my technique uses those heavily. Also, I like weird things. Now, let me explain how it works:

  1. Reduce the thing you need to remember to a single word or a very short sentence. I’ll call this the subject.

  2. Think of two things that are very closely related to the subject. Be sure you can visualize them. (This can be problematic with very abstract ideas. It helps to do wordplays then or just use very weird pictures.)

  3. Choose any animal that starts with the same letter in your native language as your subject.

  4. Think of a scene where the animal and the two related things do something.

  5. Imagine wrapping that scene in a bubble and let it fly to the sky.

Ok, if that now sounds weird or childish to you, that’s fine. To me too. But it really works. You need to use the creative side of your brain too to get effective.

Now, it should be pretty easy to remember the things. Most often you will simply recall the scene and get to the subject that way. Sometimes you forgot the scene, then you’ll most likely remember the animal and can zen it from the letters (hopefully).

If you don’t need to remember the subject anymore, be sure to “garbage-collect” your mind. I imagine the bubble popping and the scenery falls into the ocean. You don’t need to remember things on the bottom, just the bubbles flying on top.

NP: Bob Dylan—Coming From The Heart [Rehearsal 2]

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