Have You Used Memory Techniques in an Interesting Real Life Situation?

We know how useful techniques based on memory palaces are for quickly memorizing large blocks of information, and many of us have experimented with this in artificial situations.

Does anyone have any good stories of using such memory techniques for everyday life? Especially for unexpected or amusing situations?

Mostly I’m a human calculator, and there have been many times when I’ve used mental maths in the real world, so I’m curious what stories there are from the memory world.

For example:

  • Memorizing a phone number so you didn’t need to write it down
  • Meeting a large number of people and surprising them when you could recall all their names
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I did a lot of presentations before the lockdowns, and later I run into a lot of the attendees. Because I demonstrate memory by memorizing all the names of the people, it’s great to greet them by name.

I have many stories that have come out of such meetings, sometimes years later. It’s great proof of concept and often inspires people to look at using memory techniques again if they hadn’t already gotten started after my talk.

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I also use the techniques every day for long form mantra meditation. That’s quite something I’d recommend to anyone who wants to reduce monkey mind.

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I use Memory Techniques everyday in real life situations-from my office work to my personal life! Using mnemonic technique in all important aspects of my life has become my second nature,it seems!

However,I didn’t realize that there are two areas of my life I would actually be successfully apply mnemonics techniques. But I did. It was a surprise for me!

The first one is,I am a stock trader. And it is very important for a stock trader to not only memorize chart patterns,but also to analyise the important trades he took. The problem for me was that I couldn’t solve the problem of ‘memorizing’ the charts and the movement of a stock that I entered and exited. Last month,quite unexpectedly,I could solve the problem of memorizing the movement of a stock and its chart! I found it amazing. I can memorize any stock movement now and all the steps I took during my trade of that stock!

The second one is,I suddenly discovered that I can apply ‘mnemonic’ techniques during Mindful Meditation. It is strange! For example,my mind wanders from the object of meditation. I label the distraction and put it somewhere in my Memory Palace. This way,I get less distracted from the object of meditation. Also,I can store my experiences(distractions,losing focus,sensations,etc) of meditation in my MP and review the ‘issues’ later,if I want to. Using “Memory Palace” during meditation seems to have increased my attention. Though,I am still experimenting about if I can apply mnemonics techniques to enhance my meditaton experience, this is an unexpected and quite amazing experience for me,as a long term meditatior!!! :confused:

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That sounds amazing!

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@elitely, labelling distractions and storing them away in a Memory Palace is a great idea.

The closest I’ve come to this is by applying the Like/Dislike Monster image, which I laid out in this TEDx on bringing memory and meditation practice together.

But I hadn’t thought about a Memory Palace location to “hold” or otherwise detoxify such thoughts. You make me immediately think of the vat of toxic fluid in Tim Burton’s Batman as a great place for them to go.

Your approach reminds me of how some people who use mnemonics for poker “kill” or “burn” cards using imagery. Onika’s book is one such source for info on that.

You and others might also enjoy Dr. Tim Dalgleish’s research on using the method of loci to reduce anxiety and depression:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2167702612468111

What he’s doing is very inspiring and I think it explains why using memory techniques has always been the best possible antidepressant for me.

It seems even more effective when combined with meditation, so I’m glad you raised it. This is one big message that needs to be spread around.

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I use mostly memory palaces to memorize a lot of processes on my work. For example, I entered a new position some months ago, and I had to memorize 13 process manuals, with somewhat around 15-20 pages each one.

I took around 3-4 weeks to memorize them, I don’t have any idea of ​​what I would do if I didn’t know anything about this memories techniques.

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I’m quite surprised to see so many stories of using memory for meditation, but that’s really interesting as I’m also experimenting with mindfulness!

Thanks for the recommendation :slight_smile: I haven’t tried mantra meditation but it makes a lot of sense that it would work, as it reliably occupies the phonological loop of our working memory, which is pretty much where the monkey mind lives. I’ll give that a go first, and then see whether I can slide some memory techniques into the routine too.

That’s a great application of using memory techniques, because you don’t really want to sit there with a notepad or phone making notes. I’ll also try this technique. Maybe it also helps step back from the distractions if rather than letting the distraction continue to both you, you simply leave it behind somewhere in your memory palace.

Brilliant! Out of interest, what size audience were you presenting to when you could memorize their names? I’ve done presentations on mental maths and the psychology of mind sports, but for demonstrations I perform calendar calculations and binary digits memorization, as it’s more relevant to my focus and I’m not strong with names/faces. But the audience often asks me about remembering people names, so it would be fun to mention that!

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Most groups I speak to average between 30-50 people. I can’t wait for the world to open up again because I look forward to more practice with all kinds of groups of different sizes.

So long as one is well-rested and paying attention, I cannot anticipate that the group size really matters. The best part is when you’re able to overhear some small talk and also pepper in the details people were discussing as you go around naming everyone. People seem to get a real kick out of that. :slight_smile:

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Just the other day I was trying to decide which uses more electricity, my space heater or the built-in electric heaters in my apartment. The electric meters on our complex are identified by 8-digit numbers. I looked at my electric bill to see which meter mine was, memorized the number with a mp, and then went out and found the right one.

I teach online, and we use Zoom. I use mp to memorize the room numbers and passwords for the different classes so I don’t have to look them up each time.

I also use mp to keep a grocery list in my head throughout the week so that I don’t have to write down a list. It works great.

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Love this thread. A few situations for me:

I sometimes have to convert feet to meters for survey data. I used the Major System to store .3048 to “MaSsRooF”. For some reason it was sticky. I never got fluent with the Major System, so I don’t have any other applications, but that one has stuck. Except, just prior to writing this, I apparently hadn’t used it in long enough that though I could remember “massroof”, I had to review the system to remember how to decode it.

In a process plant situation, using story to memorize process is extremely helpful. It is difficult to just remember line patterns on a page, but thinking through the chemical processes as a narrative where each piece of equipment develops a sort of “plot” in the process, has been enormously helpful to me professionally.

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Hi! This sounds interesting. Could you elaborate, please?

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I use it to learn double entry tables. I have managed to make a variation where I can enter much more data. For example… I’m a poker player, and on one occasion I needed to memorize this table that represents bet sizes, odds of winning for me, for the opponent, and how many times it has to come out right.
Using a simple Locii.


Lo uso para aprender tablas de doble entrada. He logrado hacer una variación donde puedo meter muchos más datos. Por ejemplo… soy jugador de poker, y en una ocación necesité memorizar esta tabla que representa tamaños de apuesta, probabilidades de ganar mías, del rival, y qué cantidad de veces me tiene que salir bien.
Usando un simple Locii.

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En mi canal de youtube usé el cuadro de doble entrada (tabla) para estudiar las notas de una guitarra:

For learning english

Thanks for your interest, @EnderRyder. I have this demonstration and discussion video of 32 verses from the Ribhu Gita.

When I did this demonstration, I had just finished the final verse. I’ve been reciting it every day since and it is really great for creating mental peace.

There are a few reasons it does that which map onto some Method of Loci research Dr. Tim Dagleish has done and many other studies of meditation. Although I’m not a big fan of the implications created by the “E” word, How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain presents research that supports Dagleish, as does just about any study of how we can experience more of the task-positive network of the brain, a state more popularly known as “flow.”

I also think this particular set of mantras works so well because they are “self inquiry” tools that focus your attention on the nature of thought. This TEDx Talk details a certain “translation error” that gave them even more interesting character in my practice.

Atma Shatakam is another I’ve memorized that I like a lot follows the neti-neti (not this, not this) logic to help dispel unwanted thought. There are many cool performances of it, but I like the sound of this one a lot, sung by Deva Premal on YouTube.

A particularly neat characteristic of Sanskrit is that it “feels” built to memorize. I’m not a linguist, so don’t really know why, but it seems to be a lot more than just assonance and dissonance or alliteration, rhyme and other features of English that can make verses more readily memorized.

Does this help elaborate things for you? :slight_smile:

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I have used loci method to prepare classes in my head, in moments in which I had no paper or computer at hand, like walking in the street.

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I’ve used the method of loci to memorize the first name and room number of everyone in my dormitory (ca. 100 rooms). Haven’t had any practical use of it this far, but it’s perhaps a good part trick :grinning:

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I have set out to memorise information about my family that is important, though typically not used daily.
So for the four members of my family (Wife, two children, and myself) I memorise the following:

  • National Id
  • Credit cards
  • Passport numbers
  • Health Insurance numbers
  • etc

Knowing this stuff comes in handy in a pinch.

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Let me see, I’ve used my amateur memory skills to:

  • remember every relevant details during a phone conversation with a client w/o taking notes
  • remember meetings like what topics were discussed and who said what in chronological order
  • in meditation, whenever a stray thought invades, i put it in a memory palace. Knowing that it’s tucked away there assures me I can go back and think and think Abt them later. I usually trigger this mechanism by thinking ‘later’.
  • overall learning of new stuff’s has been easier due to increased ability to visualize and link. I can come up with a visual animation of complex theories or subjects.

There are more I’m pretty sure. I just can’t remember them all now. Maybe later :slightly_smiling_face:

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