Special memory systems mnemonics Test

Since the time of the Greeks certain individuals have impressed their fellow men with the most amazing feats of memory. They have been able to remember: hundreds of items backwards and forwards and in any order; dates and numbers; names and faces; and have been able to perform special memory feats such as memorising whole areas of knowledge perfectly, or remembering decks of cards in the order anyone chose to present them.

In most cases these individuals were using special memorising techniques known as mnemonics. Traditionally these techniques have been scorned as mere tricks, but recently the attitude towards them has begun to change. It has been realised that the methods which initially enable minds to remember something more easily and quickly, and then to remember it for much longer afterwards, must be more than simple tricks.

Current knowledge about the ways in which our minds work shows that these techniques are indeed closely connected to the basic ways in which the brain functions. The use of mnemonic techniques has consequently gained respectability and popularity, and they are currently being taught in universities and schools as additional aids in the general learning process. The improvement of memory performances that can be achieved is quite remarkable, and the range of techniques is wide.

There is not enough space in the present chapter to give a complete coverage, but I shall introduce here the basic theory behind the system, and a simple system for remembering up to ten items.

Let us assume that the items to be remembered are:

1 table

2 feather

3 cat

4 leaf

5 student

6 orange

7 car

8 pencil

9 shirt 10 poker

In order to remember these it is necessary to have some system which enables us to use the associative and linking power of memory to connect them with their proper number.

The best system for this is the Number-Rhyme System, in which each number has a rhyming word connected to it.

The rhyming key words are:

1 bun

2 shoe

3 tree

4 door

5 hive

6 sticks

7 heaven

8 gate

9 vine 10hen

In order to remember the first list of arbitary words it is necessary to link them in some strong manner with the rhyming words connected to the numbers. If this is done successfully, the answer to a question such as 'what word was connected to number 5?' will be easy. The rhyming word for 5, 'hive', will be recalled automatically and with it will come the connected image of the word that has to be remembered. The numbers, rhyming words, and items to be remembered can be thought of respectively as the clothes rail, the hangers, and the clothes in a clothes cupboard. See fig 25.

The important thing in this and all other memory systems is to make sure that the rhyming word and the word to be remembered are totally and securely linked together. In order to do this, the connecting images must be one or many of the following:

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