The 2 techniques discussed in this article will grant you an almost superhuman memory recollection. Use them to remember difficult equations, important information, and large lists of items. Or just use them to impress your friends!
Mnemonic peg system
Using the mnemonic peg system can help you memorize large lists of items, and even in the correct order. Even if you had a list of 30 items, you could recite each item off of the list, and remember which number.
It works by associating an object with each of the list items. The objects are the “pegs”. To use this system, it is good to have already associated an object or a shape to each number to however high you want to go. You could associate an object with the shape of a number, like “2“ looks like a swan, and “1“ could be a stick or pole. Or, in an easier way, associate a rhyming word with each number. “1“ sounds like “gun”, “2“ sounds like “glue”, “30“ sounds like “Bertie” and so on.
You can memorize a list of items by associating the peg with the item. If number “1“ on the list was a cake, you could imagine a gun in a cake. Number 2 might be some flour, so the flour was covered in glue.
Here is a sample 7 item shopping list, with an example to help remember each:
- Sponge cake (imagine a gun in a sponge cake) 1 = Gun
- Flour (a packet of flour, covered in glue) 2 = Glue
- Bananas (a bee stuck in a bunch of bananas) 3 = Bee
- Chocolate (a door made of chocolate) 4 = Door
- Breakfast cereal (a bee hive made from old cereal) 5 = Hive
- Bread (a loaf of bread that has sticks shoved in it) 6 = Sticks
- Butter (someone eating butter in heaven) 7 = Heaven
Now, if someone asked you “Hey Joe, I’ve forgotten what the fifth item was on the shopping list! Do you remember?”, you would just think of 5 = hive. The bee hive made of cereal. “Breakfast cereal, my dear”.
The peg system is very effective. It will be even more helpful if you establish and remember pegs for each number, from 1-10, and 20, 30, 40, 50 and so on.
The palace technique
The human brain is excellent at remembering places. This can be used to your memory advantage with “the palace technique”. This is another pegging method. It is a fun and easy, visual way of remembering sometimes huge amounts of things.
The idea is to associate items you want to remember with features of the palace. The palace is a place or building that you have excellent recollection of. A good example is the home you grew up in.
You need to be sure to really imprint the image of the “palace” in your mind, and certain features of the palace. Features may include the front doormat, the front door, the picture hanging in the hallway, or whatever else sticks in your mind.
Now, when you want to remember a list of items, names etc., you can use this visualization. What you do is combine whatever the list item is with the feature you recall from your “palace”. To stamp this into your memory, try to merge the list item with the palace feature in a ridiculous or hilarious way.
Going back to our shopping list example, imagine a sponge cake on the doormat, that you just stepped in, and it exploded! Then, as you go through the door, someone had set up the old “bucket of water” trick above the door, but it wasn’t water, it was flour — all over your head! Next, you slip on a banana skin and slide across the hallway, slamming into the wall, which knocks down the picture frame. Strangely, something you never noticed before — the picture frame, now smashed to pieces, was made of chocolate — all these years. How weird!
See what we did here. From this we’ve remembered sponge cake, flour, bananas, and chocolate. And the scenario was so ridiculous, you remembered it really easily.
Of course, you’ll probably want to use either of the above techniques for more important things than shopping lists, but you get the idea.
Both these techniques rely on “mnemonics”, the idea of translating information into another format that the brain can easily remember, usually by association. It’s an excellent skill to practice and learn.
Your brain is your friend, you can have superhuman memory recollection in any situations where you need a level head and memory of an elephant.