Welcome to Week 3 of #mayArtOfMemory!
On Week 1 and Week 2, I covered the essential knowledge to understand how memory works and techniques to improve it. On Week 3, what initially was just theoretical information becomes tangible through actual practice.
This post summarizes a very useful memory technique, a gadget and tips to make info stick, the outlier of this week and an actual memory training course. Enjoy it!!
Mnemonic Major System
The Major System is a mnemonic technique to remember numbers1. Every number from 0 to 9 has a consonant representation. So, when multiple numbers are put together, words can be created from them by adding vowels.
The following table shows the Major System number-consonant association. As a plus, I got my own list of single syllable words that I use when there’s only one number to remember.
|Number||Associated Consonant||Single Consonant Word|
|0||s, z, soft c||iCe|
|6||ch, j, sh, soft g||SHoe|
|7||k, q, hard c, hard g||Key|
|8||f, v, ph||hiVe|
Having problems creating words out of consonants? No problem, pinfruit.com will help you with your Major System!
Synesthesia and Association
Synesthesia is a condition in which one type of stimulation produces the sensation of another one2. For example, when you witness lightning (sight), mentally you may hear the rumbling of the accompanying thunder (hearing), even though it didn’t happened yet (thank you, TV for training our minds. #sarcasm). Basically, you had a synesthesiac recall of a memory.
Associative memory in just a few words is the mental ability to learn and remember concepts or ideas that seem unrelated3. For example, when you’re walking on the street and you smell a perfume that reminds you of a specific person. Perfume memory retrieved person memory (if it was a good perfume, then it may retrieve more than that 😉 ).
The point is, when learning new information, we can harness the power of synesthesia and association to allow our brains to create more neural connections of what you want to learn. This way, you’re helping your brain to retain and recall information more efficiently.
Re-using Memory Palaces
On Week 2, we talked about Memory Palaces. So far, using them has been key in remembering more effectively any data that I wanted to store in my mind. Memory Palaces allow getting information beyond our Working Memory4 into Long-Term Memory, nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that information will be stored forever. If that would be the case, then Memory Palaces could be used only once.
Since we don’t want to store information indefinitely that is important for a short period of time — for example your grocery list, or the key points of a presentation –, then we can reuse our Memory Palaces.
In my case, so far I have 4 Memory Palaces that I rotate through when I’m practicing memory. This is key because that way I allow the memories placed in the loci of a Palace to fade away while I iterate through the other ones. If this is not done properly, old memories could surface in the loci instead of the latest ones stored there. Mnemonists called this phenomenon “Ghosting” or “The Ugly Sister Effect“5.
The Outlier: Dr. Julia Shawn
Dr. Julia Shawn – The Memory Hacker – is best known for her work on memory research and criminal psychology6. She also authored The Memory Illusion and is a keynote speaker on the topic of memory hacking. After watching her talk at TEDxPorto, a phrase caught my attention: “Your memories are not just your own. Your memories are subject to social influence.“. It reminded me of George Orwell’s 1984 and how social memories were constantly overwritten with the premise: “He who controls the past controls the future”. #bewareYourMemories
Memory Gadget: Anki
Based on the hypothesis of “The Curve of Forgetting”7, that states that any acquired information will be harder to retrieve along time passes by, this app helps to present you the ideas that you want to remember at regular intervals of time (hours, days, months).
Check out more about the Forgetting Curve and How To Use Anki in these videos:
Become a SuperLearner: Learn Speed-Reading & Advanced Memorization is the name of the course that I decided to take in Udemy. I know it covers more than just memory, nevertheless, I am more interested in the initial 5 (out of 9) sections of the course, where visual memory, mental markers and systems for creating and maintaining long-term memories are deeply discussed.
Whether you take the course or not, the free memory games (and your stats) on their official website are a very good use of your time! #learningGamified
This week gets summarized in:
- Technique and Tips:
- Mnemonic Major System
- Synesthesia & Association
- The outlier of the week: Dr. Julia Shawn
- The Gadget: Anki
That’s it! Distilled information is right now sticking in your brain if you followed the memory techniques and tips suggested during this week. I hope you’re learning as much as I am during May, 2018.
Keep on learning!