Loci technique for mnemonic memory technique
This loci technique was used by ancient orators to remember speeches, and it combines the
use of organization, visual memory, and association. Before using the technique, you must
identify a common path that you walk. This can be the walk from your dorm to class, a walk
around your house, whatever is familiar. What is essential is that you have a vivid visual
memory of the path and objects along it. Once you have determined your path, imagine
yourself walking along it, and identify specific landmarks that you will pass. For
example, the first landmark on your walk to house could be your dorm room, next may be
the front of the residence hall, next a familiar statue you pass, etc. The number of
landmarks you choose will depend on the number of things you want to remember.
Once you have determined your path and visualized the landmarks, you are ready to use
the path to remember your material. This is done by mentally associating each piece of
information that you need to remember with one of these landmarks. For example, if you are
trying to remember a list of mnemonics, you might remember the first--acronyms--by
picturing SCUBA gear in your dorm room (SCUBA is an acronym).
You do not have to limit this to a path. You can use the same type of technique with
just about any visual image that you can divide into specific sections. The most important
thing is that you use something with which you are very familiar.
Method of loci
If someone reads a list of unrelated words to you, just once, how many do you think
you could remember? Give it a try. Have someone read a list of 10 words to you at a slow
but steady pace (about 1 word per second). Rather than using any of the memory techniques
presented here, simply try to concentrate on the words and remember them. How many words
did you remember?
Now take a few minutes to identify a path or object that you can use in the method
of loci. Familiarize yourself with each of sections of your path or object. Mentally go
through each of the loci (locations) and visualize them as best you can. Remember, it is
important to be able to visualize and recall each location readily. Once you have done
this, have your friend read you a different list of words. This time, try to create visual
images of the words associated with one of the locations. This may not come easy at first,
but with practice you should be able to create these visual images more readily. If you
find that you are having difficulty coming up with the images quickly, practice on some
more lists until you have improved. Chances are, when you become familiar with using this
technique, you will be able to remember many more words (maybe all 10 items).
Practice the loci mnemonic technique to sharpen your skills.