The Memory Palace
If you were shown a table with 20 items laid on it and you were told you had 2 minutes to learn every item, could you do it?
If you needed to remember a list of 20 items for an exam, could you do it?
Trained minds can easily do this!
One way experts recall these items is to use a 'memory palace'.
There are many other names for a memory palace that mean the same such as:
Memory Palace Method
Method of Loci (literally "Method of Places)
These are a construction in your mind of a set of positions/ places/ features that you can recall in a very strict order.
Let's take a very simple "memory palace" or "journey" for example:
1. You walk outside your house and always trip over a set of bins.
2. You go past your car which is on the forecourt of your house and stroke your car lovingly and it purrs back.
3. You carry on walking and turn right and that flipping dog in your neighbour's garden always barks at you.
4. Then you come to a letter box that some idiot has painted bright pink with yellow spots.
5. Then you come to the entrance of a kids playground with swings.
- Notice how the sequential journey has landmarks, each one exaggerated or crazy to help you recall them.
- This journey or memory palace should be practiced in your head as many times as you can until it's so familiar to you that you can recall it easily.
Say the first five objects you noticed on the table were as follows: Plant in pot, glasses, cup, pencil and apple.
Now link each item to each section of your memory palace (or journey), as follows:
Remember, the more bizarre and crazy the link, the more chance you will have of recalling the object.
MORE BIZARRE AND CRAZY AS POSSIBLE
1. Link 'set of bins' to 'glasses'.
Imagine putting glasses on the bins outside your house to they can warn you not to trip over them.
2. Link 'car' (the second position of your journey) to 'cup'.
Imagine driving off in your car with a big cup of tea left on the roof and a friend shouting STOP!
3. Link 'barking dog' (the third position of your journey) with a 'flower in a pot'.
Imagine, for some crazy reason, that any time the barking dog sees a flower in a pot, it rolls over on the floor letting you balance the flower in a pot on its tummy.
4. Link 'letter box' (the fourth position of your journey) with 'pencil'.
Imagine the letterbox refusing to let you post a letter until she has corrected any grammatical errors on it with a huge pencil.
5. Link 'playground swings' (the fifth position of your journey) to the final object on the table, an 'apple'.
Imagine the playground swing being so big that you could swing so high into the sky, you could pick an apple from the highest branch of the apple tree. Be careful not to fall!
It should be a simple case now of recalling each of the items on the table by recalling each position of the journey.
Bins = Glasses
Car = Cup
Dog = Flower and pot
Letter box = Pencil
Playground swing = Apple
How easy is that!