The great news are that fortunately there are lots of mnemonic techniques that can aid us significantly amplify memory competence. The majority of these memory techniques require the visualization ability of the individual. This is because mental images leave a lot more powerful imprint in the human memory than just expressions and sentences. It is also scientifically proved that images are remembered more easily than words, especially if the images have something exceptional, weird or uncommon. This is the first rule that the most memory techniques are based on. You can also try to confirm this fact easily now. Try to remember what you did a random morning the previous month. Are you able to? Virtually any common person cannot remember unless that the chosen morning had a unique and unusual experience. For example, a meeting with a very old friend that you haven’t seen for many years adds something different and unique to this morning and so you can clearly remember it.
The other fact that you can also confirm is that the human brain cannot distinct a mental experience from a real one. Do this quick test at this point. Close your eyes and imagine with as many details you can, a lemon. Observe its rough skin, zoom in and zoom out, smell it. Then visualize that you hold the lemon and you slice it in the middle. Notice its juice, smell it again. Finally, take the lemon and bite it strongly and sense all of its juice within your mouth. If you’ve done it correctly your mouth must be full of saliva currently. Even if this was a mental experience, your brain did not recognize the difference and reacted to the lemon bite with the saliva production.
Combining these two facts about the human brain, many memory strategies have been invented. In most of them you generate mental pictures and link those with the stuff that you want to remember. The following list is a list of some standard mnemonic techniques that are based on these principles:
- The linking method or Chaining System: Mostly used to memorize short lists of items. This technique creates a sequence of mental images that are connected with the items that you have to remember. Every mental picture may contain a minimum of two objects. Thinking the images in a row may create a strange or fantastic story.
- Peg system: Ordered lists of items can be remembered with no trouble with the peg system. The peg system requires the creation of a peg list which is a number-word combination. The words sound like the numbers as you speak them. A peg list can be also created by using the alphabet or by using words that in fact have the same figure with the number. These are two well known variations of the peg system. The individual have to create and learn the pegs. After that he can assosiate the peg words with every list he wants.
- Method of loci: It is used to memorize long lists too. You create a mental path in a very familiar place e.g. your house and you correlate the objects of the list to separate places in the house. As you walk in the house you witness the objects you desire to memorize. Visualizations may be unreasonable to improve memory.
- The Major System: It is used to remember long numbers. This is an advanced memory method with unlimited potential. It actually gives a meaning to numbers. There’s a table that must be memorized well before using the method. This table includes the numbers 0-9 and associates each number to a consonant letter. Having the vowels to use them freely, you can shape meaningful words that correspond to a long number. It can be used in combination with the previous strategies.
These mnemonic techniques are very efficient and common. Actually there are plenty of such methods and variations that can help you expand your memory. It is sad that on many states these techniques are not taught in schools. We have grown up using an obsolete and ineffective learning way that requires a lot more time and effort from student’s perspective. Sadly, this traditional and ineffective linear way of learning is still the dominating learning system.