I don’t actually know if ninjas had particularly good memories come to think of it. They were more silent killing machines than memory athletes from what I gather. I just liked the title. Anyway…
I’m not sure who it was that said:
If at first you don’t succeed, cheat!
…But whoever it was, they kind of had a point.
Now, there’s actually no cheat codes for the human brain, but there are ways in which you can ‘trick’ it into remembering things more easily.
These techniques have and will continue to be used by some of the top ‘mental athletes’ in the world and you can
I’ve already spoken on this blog about the effectiveness of memorization techniques such as mnemonics.
These mnemonics increase memory power by associating other things that you remember more easily, with what you want to remember now. If a memory has something associated with it, you’re likely to remember it better.
A simple example of a mnemonic is ‘Any Body Should Count Henry’s Partners’, which is how you remember the order of King Henry VIII’s wives. Here’s a video of how this mnemonic works.
An Alphabetical Memorization Techniques
One of my favourite (and one of the simplest) memorization techniques is known as The Peg Method which can be used to remember lists.
This consists of ‘pegging’ the things you want to remember to words, numbers or letters, usually in a sequence. For example, one version of the Alphabet Peg Method is to assign a ‘sound alike’ word to each letter of the alphabet, like so:
…And so on until you have one for each letter of the alphabet.
Once you’ve learned the whole list from A-Z, you can then use it to remember up to 26 items. The 26 letters of the alphabet work like keys. For example, B will always make you think of Bee once you’ve learned this system. Here’s how the full system works:
Let’s say you want to learn the order of all the US Presidents from the 20th Century (1900 – 2000). That’s 18 fellows to remember.
|A||Ace||Imagine William McKinley (1897 – 1901) serving an Ace in a game of tennis|
|B||Bee||Think of Theodore Roosevelt (1901 – 1909) being stung by a Bee|
|C||Sea||Imagine William Howard Taft (1909 – 1913) floating out to Sea in a boat|
|D||Deed||Woodrow Wilson (1913 -1921) signing a Deed to buy a new house|
|E||Eve||Warren G. Harding (1921 – 1923) walking with Eve in the garden of Eden|
Do this with each of the presidents in order and you’ll have a visual image for each one which will anchor it in your brain more strongly than if you just tried to learn them by rote.
In this particular case, make sure you can first recognise the presidents and have a clear picture of them in your mind so that recalling them is easier.
If you can’t remember their faces (you can), then think of something weird about them or their name and associate that with the key word from the alphabet. For example, one of The Chipmunks was called Theodore. Imagine a chipmunk being stung by a bee and you get B = Theodore Roosevelt!
Now all you need to do is go through the alphabet, think of the word that rhymes with each letter (which will come easily as the word rhymes with the letter) and then think of the person who is interacting with that thing e.g. B = a bee who is stinging Roosevelt (or a chipmunk called Theodore).
NOTE: I’m not saying this process will necessarily help you to learn the information any faster (although with practice it’s very likely it will), but it will allow the information to ‘stick’ in your brain more easily by the power of association.
Actually, the more bizarre, silly, exciting, funny or even erotic the imagery is that you use, the better, because you’re more likely to remember it. If the examples I’ve given for this memorization technique are a bit tame for you, then change them to be as outrageous as you like. After all, no one needs to know but you…
Incidentally, if you want to learn how to memorize quickly, then The Number Peg Method is one of the best to use in my experience. Just go to the search bar on this site and search ‘Number Peg Method’ and you’ll find posts that talk about how to use it.
As always, let me know what you think of this particular memorization technique in the comments section below and be sure to tweet it or share it via Facebook using the buttons below or on the left of the article.
Category: Memorization Techniques
About the Author (Author Profile)I'm James Gladwell, chief contributor and editor of SmartMemoryPower.com. I'm fascinated by the human mind and I set this site up in order to help people increase their memory power, while I learned how to improve mine. Feel free to leave a comment on the site and let me know how you think I can make the site better.
Sites That Link to this Post
- How to Train Your Memory with Dr Robert Winston : Smart Memory Power | 15 September, 2012