Ask a memory champion [2]

(Simon Luisi) #61

Ben, do you know what is more tiring? Memorizing or recalling? Say, you spend 2 hours trying to recall pi, a number you already know and then compare this effort with memorizing random numbers for 2 hours without recalling them. Which challenge would tire your mind the most?
Or maybe neither is as tiring as building and improving a memory system?

(Ben Pridmore) #62

I really couldn’t say - I’ve never tried memorising something without recalling it, and I’ve never really tried recalling except immediately after memorising (apart from pi, twelve years ago, and that’s so far in the distant past I can’t really remember it…)

I’ve only ever practiced by doing the disciplines of memory competitions, as close as possible to the real things, I don’t tend to think about things like this. Building and improving the system was fun, though, not tiring in the least! :slight_smile:


Hi mr. Ben, have you tried breaking a word or a name into single syllable and use your 1000 digit images as images for those syllables?
If someone has a name Marcus - mar (314) kus (750).
So my image for Marcus is a marigold(314) bathing in the jacuzzi(750).

Concept - kon (742) sep (029)
Boris - bor (944) ris (430)
Konrad- kon (742) rad (411)

(Ben Pridmore) #64

No, I haven’t, but it’s a sensible idea! In names and faces competitions I do (inconsistently) try to take the first syllable of a name and picture my image for that, but I haven’t tried doing multiple images for a longer name. Maybe I will! :slight_smile:


Please do tell me if it is working for you.


Hello Ben.

I am humbled to write to you. Thanks for everything you did for the community.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled on “Moonwalking with Einstein” and was so enthusiastic. But then I got frustrated because what I learned on memory palaces faded away after some time and I had no discipline to reviews my memory palaces.

Now I am back in the game,for study reasons. And I learned that you can get that discipline of reviewing what you learned on memory palaces thanks to the software Anki (flash cards / space repetition app).

I was just wondering if you had any info about this kind of method. And if not, how do you get the discipline to review your memory palaces used for long term recovery.

Kind regards,


(Ben Pridmore) #67

Hi Alexandre, and sorry I didn’t reply to this question a month and a half ago - I just didn’t notice it.

My answer isn’t a very good one, sorry again - I really don’t know anything about Anki or long-term memory and recall; it’s just not something I’ve ever done.

But hey, if anybody else wants to ask a question that I might be able to answer better, please do!


Thanks for your answer Ben !

It is an interesting answer for me anyway !

For those who want more informations about the question I asked :
I made my research meanwhile, and Alex Mullen has got some great tips about it.

He is using memory palaces is his medical studies.


Hi Ben, big admirer of yours. My question is about remembering events. I constantly forget what is in my diary, so if I don’t have it on front of me my time is without limit. I constantly forget meetings, dates etc. Is there a technique I can practice that will allow me to recall what’s in my day with clarity?

(Ben Pridmore) #70

Honestly, that isn’t something I’ve ever tried to use memory techniques for, so I don’t think I can offer any very good advice here. But the classic memory technique of making an image out of every diary event and the number representing the time, should work in theory.

Personally, I’ve always liked the old-fashioned method of tying a piece of string around your finger as an aid to memory, although I don’t know a good way to apply that to a busy diary with lots of appointments…

(Nicholas Mihaila) #71

Hello Ben, I’m a huge fan. I just had a question about image linking in a journey. Like you, my images consist of both people and objects, so occasionally I get multiple inanimate objects in succession. I was curious if you had any tips about dealing with these cases. Lately I’ve been experimenting with having the objects take on animate qualities (For instance, shoes could walk by themselves.) or simply fall into each other. Is there a more effective approach that’s worked for you?


Ok no problem, thanks for responding.