#mayArtOfMemory – Week2

Hi all! Welcome to the summary of #mayArtOfMemory – Week2.

In Week1 we covered a 10,000 feet overview of what is considered memory and how it works. This time, we go hands-on training and things get fun. We’ll cover two mnemonic techniques, an inspiring story, and memory gadgets. “In the first place”1, let’s review the Memory Palace.

Memory Techniques

Memory Palace

This technique is based upon the Method of Loci that has been used for a few thousand years. There’s a famous story between the Mnemonists about ancient Greece and how Simonides de Cero created this technique.2

In just a few words, a Memory Palace is a mental representation of a place that you know by heart and that you’ll use to store any memory that you consider relevant.3

How do we create a memory palace?

  1. In your apartment/house, stand at the entrance the living-room.
  2. Choose 5 items that are easy to remember. Let’s say the couch, a tea table, a lamp, a picture on the wall and lastly a shelf. Once you designate the locations, make sure that the order of them will not change in your mind.
  3. Place images of whatever it is that you want to remember on each of the locations previously designated. The more vivid, bizarre or funny the images are, the better because it will be easier for your mind to recall them.
  4. Repeat step 1 in the next available room.

Let’s say you need to need to remember dates for your History test, you can imagine the French Revolutionaries using your couch pillows as weapons4. Then you can visualize Neil Armstrong leaving the Apollo 115 and landing on your tea table and so on.

Once the Memory Palace is not needed anymore, let the memories fade away and you can re-use it again. #rinse&repeat.

To clear any doubt, check out this video explaining the Memory Palace by Ron White – former US Memory Champion.

PAO – People/Action/Objects

This is a technique to remember long random numbers and decks of playing cards.6. For example, you could use it to remember phone numbers, dates or PIN Numbers (Yes, I know you write your PIN Numbers down on post-its. #notSafe).

How do we create a PAO list?

1. You need to assign consonants and vowels to numbers, from 0 to 97. For example:

Number Consonant/Vowel Number Consonant/Vowel
1 A 6 S
2 B 7 G
3 C 8 H
4 D 9 N
5 E 0 O

Assignation Table

2. Now it comes the difficult part (trust me, it will pay off). After every number was assigned to a consonant/vowel, we pair them creating a list from 01 to 99. For each one of this 99 items, we’ll use the combination of letters to recall someone memorable to us. This is the Person. After that, we’ll assign an Action to this person. Lastly, we’ll designate an Object. For example:

Pair Combination Person Action Object
16 AS Arnold Schwarzenegger Lifting Weights
42 DB David Beckham Kicking Soccer Ball
63 DB Sarah Connor Shooting Robots
86 HS Homer Simpson Eating doughnuts

PAO Table

3. This is the fun part. In order to remember groups of 6 numbers, we’ll combine Person, Action and Object. From the table above, let’s say that we want to remember the number 421686. Now you figured it out. You are visualizing David Beckham Lifting Doughnuts! (after so much success, he can do whatever he wants, right?)

If you ever played Cards Against Humanity, I bet you may remember some bizarre combinations created during the game that got still stuck in your mind. Well, they are not forgotten yet because they were M-E-M-O-R-A-B-L-E. The same principle applies to the PAO System.

Once you get your PAO Table finished, you can remember 6 digits and if you combine them with the Memory Palace technique, you’re on your way to remember very long numbers!


Outlier

Joshua Foer‘s story is worth remembering (#punIntended), not only because he worked out his memory from an average level to the top of a contest, but mostly because he is a living proof that curiosity takes us to places we never imagined we would arrive to.

Want to get inspired by his story? Here it is his official TED Talk:


Memory Training Apps

A boring app to train our brains won’t get any downloads at all, that’s the reason most of the memory training apps are actually games. That’s great because this way training our memory is done from our phones in spare time and while having fun!

Even though these apps claim to improve your mind, I couldn’t find official proof of that. Nevertheless, trying them out is worth the time compared to mind-numbing social media checking 🙂 .

Some of the Apps that I tried over the week and like are:

  • Elevate. Chosen as the Best App in 2014 by iTunes8, Elevate will not only help train your memory, but also your writing, reading and math skills.
  • Lumosity Scientists and Game Designers worked together to deliver 50+ cognitive games. So far, very fun to use and go the extra mile using memory. #noComplaints
  • Brain Games. 9. They took the term “Brain Fitness” seriously. Funny icons of brains sweating in a gym and a good selection of games are its main characteristics.

Takeaways

This week gets summarized in:

That’s it for this week. There’s a huge amount of information about this topic; therefore I’m trying to condense and extract key points of it to get you motivated to train your memory. Comments, questions, and critique are always welcome!

Keep on learning!

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