Cluttering one locus vs spreading related information onto multiple loci


what do you prefer more and why ?

Hi, Developer. I personally use two criteria: If there is lot of details I want to integrate into an idea (generally more than five words/sub-ideas), I disaggregate it in multiple locus. But, if different ideas are part of a general idea (let’s say, the four elements of style for something, or whatever), I chunk them in containers around a single loci (imaginary containers, that is, following a simple method). I find that up to five closely related ideas can be stored in a single locus, but I only do it when adding another level to the organization (let’s say, if it were written in an outline format, the sub bullets of an idea will become a chunk with up to five ideas around a general one, each represented by a mnemonic scene).

¿What do you do?

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It depends on what you are aiming to achieve.

long term memorization

In this case I’m clearly in favor of spreading informations as much as possible. Ideally there is only one piece of information at every location.
Let’s say you want to memorize the speed of light, which is 299 792 458 meters per second. With a three digit system this requires three loci.
Another example would be a name that needs more than one image for memorization. For instance there is Mr. Battenberg. So you have a bat, an image for the number ten, and an image for berg (maybe a Borg). Then it’s better to use three locations again.

I can also tell you why it’s better to spread long term informations. When you clutter a location with several images, it seems like a good idea at first. The informations are compressed, hence you don’t have to traverse so many loci. The images are vivid, unique and funny.

The problem is that they don’t stay that way. After weeks or months the images will become more and more blurry, even with spaced repetition. (At least when you create lots of them.) When you visit the locus again, chances are that you don’t remember all the details. Even worse, you will be puzzled if you got all the details or missed some of them. This uncertainty is really annoying in my experience.

That can’t happen when there is only one piece of information. The images at the locations can become as blurry as they want. As long as you remember what it was at all, all the infos are there.

short term memorization and memory sports

In this case cluttering can work very well. I’ve tried both, and in my experience it doesn’t make much of a difference. Personally I prefer one image per location. Top memory players at Memory League seem to put more than one image per location though.

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Hey Dante

I like your imaginary containers technique , although you didnt mention what do they exactly look like.

For now I am still experimenting things out:

So far Obviously spreading ideas their sub-ideas are more comfortable to recall but very locus expensive.

For Now I guess attaching sub ideas in one locus , can be very effective only if done in a systematic way For example setting maximum number of sub idea per locus worked well with me ,I guess being random at every locus is very brain-power exhausting.

Also sometimes The kind of info i want to remember makes me remember the encoded image for it and not the opposite. I am dont sure if this ok, actually I want to make a separate post for this.

Hey Finwing,

I can much relate about this. After sometime I dont remember every small detail encoded at every locus, but It seems because they are not stunning enough, also I am very into cluttering information but under one condition: Set a maximum number of info per locus, this helped me a lot

Spreading info is much relaxing only problem it needs many loci.

for example here you would need at least 10 loci… , and much more if there is very detailed sub ideas too.

  • Main 1
    – Sub 1
    – Sub 2
    – Sub 3
    – Sub 4

  • Main 2
    – Sub 1
    – Sub 2
    – Sub 3
    – Sub 4

I would like to know if sometimes the information you want to remember makes you remember the encoded images and not the opposite

Of course, and that’s a good thing! When I come across some information that I don’t need regularly, but that is stored in a long term palace, then the image jumps into my mind. This actually strenghtens the link between location and image.

Indeed. That’s the reason why I create most of my long term storage palaces from scratch and on the fly. They are less durable than journeys based on the real world or a virtual route, hence I have to rely on spaced repetition. On the other hand I can use as many loci as I need without any preparation. (Just have to take some notes while doing so, in case I forget some of the locations later on.)

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Well, I’m thinking of doing a post detailing my process for the containers, but I can explain it briefly for you here. First two things. Indeed, sometimes the information will come before the image, especially if the coding was not very memorable. That is not a problem, since it strengthens the connections, but is maybe an indicator that the image must be altered or more vividly visualized. Second, I believe that one of the most important parts of the encoding is the link between the location and the first image in the scene. A great explanation is in this old but absolutely fundamental post:

Understanding that got me to a new level in my memory journey. Hope that helps you too.

About the containers. I developed this technique drawing inspiration from Lev Goldentouch in his book Key to Study, and from the Macunx technique, which didn’t work form me for the similarities of the virtual loci. I took the idea of putting up to four images in one locus from Lev an the geometrical arrangement from the macunx (or, more precisely, from the quincunx that is a part of it).

I have a code for the first ten numbers, with colors and elements (one is white-air; two is purple-fire; three is navy blue-water; four is cyan-ice; five is green-grass). The containers always are arranged the same way, a dual container is left-white-air, right-purple-fire; a triple container is up-white-air, bottom left-purple-fire, bottom right-blue-water, and so on.

So, let’s say you have an idea which has two subelements to it. For example, learning is a mixture of comprehension (building mental representations) and consolidation (strengthening those representations to be accessible for the long term). Of course, those can be encoded in a single mnemonic scene, but for the sake of the example, let’s say you want to encode them separately. Your locus is your pillow, in your room. So, first, a kid is emerging from the pillow, breaking the pillowcase and spreading the insides of the pillow (that’s the link to the locus). The kid is seated on a school desk working on some book (that would be the image for learning). To his left, there is a whirlwind around a halve finished brain made of jigsaw, with the pieces being moved by the wind. To his right, there is a brain made of still, in a shape similar to a safe, in a container made from purple fire, so the safe is melting a little. As you see, the images in the containers need to be linked to the imaginary loci (the place in the container), and that is easily made with the element/color descriptor. That way you can ask yourself, what is the thing that is being moved by the wind here, or what is the thing being heated by the purple fire, or what is the thing drawing, etc.

Hope that helps.

Personally, I prefer to have definitive images for my concepts, gradually constructed into a visual dictionary of characters. If you are interested in that, you can read my post on my method:

Good luck, mate.


Thank you very much for your detailed explanation and extra tips. It took me quite some time to go through several times.

I have a quick question at the moment, on the long run, how do you that for example 1st locus has dual-container not triple or quad container? In other words how you keep track the number of sub ideas attached to each locus?
Another question arises after reading the thread you attached:

Why use the container system, and dont rely completely on links (as mentioned in post)

I will try your containers system out, And will let you know how it went.

Would be appreciated if you share your full 10 number element list. (Bit lazy to create one atm : D)

My pleasure.

Actually is not really a problem. The content seems to help, but more important, the different containers have different shapes and arrangements. When there is only one sub-idea, I will imagine the first scene, or more precisely it’s principal character as floating above a wind sphere (Avatar Ang style), and inside would be the sub-idea. If there is two, they will have the shape of a line “opened”, that is, like an eye shape but vertical, one on each side of the character. If they are three, there are three triangles around the character; if four, four squares, and if five, a normal quincunx (the shape for the five dots in a face of one die) being hugged by the character. Six is like a hexagon of hexagons, but, honestly, I’ve never used that arrangement, I would prefer to have two “trinqunxes”.

That’s a very good question and I don’t have a very good answer. Hahaha. I haven’t tried to add five relatively complex subideas to an already complex principal idea in one locus, using only the link method, but honestly seems super hard. I try to limit every scene to five details, and a case like I described could easily have 15 or twenty details. To code all that in a single scene… I don’t know. Maybe with more training, but I also don’t see the benefits. I still consider myself fairly new to the linking method, and a deep learning of it is on my roadmap, but right now I prefer to limit my use of it.

Actually, I have only elements for the first six. I did thought for the other ones but never used them so I’m not really sure anymore, hahaha. The colors are very simple, following the rainbow:

  1. White - Air
  2. Purple - Fire
  3. Navy blue - Water
  4. Cyan - Ice
  5. Ligh Green - Grass
  6. Yellow - Gold

Hope that helps, mate!

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Hello , I would like to update you .

Last few days I was testing out. Memory Palace + Linking method
I didnt restrict the number of sub ideas per loci, but occasionally I had 5 sub ideas at max per loci.

For me It worked very well short term , but I think in the long term it would be very hard to maintain / use.

The information I encoded I would say is not easy (Pattern Recognition And Neural Networks)

I still have difficulties with abstract words and (I encountered many of )them maybe this is reduced the effectively

I have a question that arose in the process: When reviewing for long term information : do I really have to recall the link chains , because when I recall sometimes I dont need to remember the whole chain to remember the information.

The next few days I am planning to try your technique (containers).