A long term admirer of memory champions and their techniques, doing a bit of dabbling myself here and there, but still very much a beginner.
The techniques work. Period. If you manage to invent an image to represent a term, and you then deposit that term in a mental palace, you are almost certain to remember it. The difficult part is coming up with a suitable image in the first place.
The masters who practice and have significant experience I know can do so on the fly, but for beginners like myself it’s far from that easy. Yesterday for example I memorised the 50 US states (I’ve never tried to memorise a list longer than 20 before, and it seemed cool). If we ignore preparation of the palace (first time, so I didn’t have any available), that still took me maybe 2-3 hours, which is quite a bit of time.
If the information you’re memorising is something that’s important i.e. an exam you may choose to spend those hours doing so, but if it’s superfluous knowledge like the above (I’m not even American!) you probably won’t, at least not very often. If however that time could be cut down, there’s so much I’d like to memorise: all the periodic elements, all notable 20th century dates, etc etc. If I was given a list of suitable images for the states, even with my inexperience I doubt it’d have taken me more than 20, 25 minutes to memorise the states.
I’ve done a lot of reading through the wiki and the forum, and I don’t think there is, but if I’ve missed it, could someone point me towards a database where information and associated images are collected? If it doesn’t exist, I’d suggest that such a resource be created. It’s pointless us all spending large amounts of time duplicating work that others are doing. It’d also get a lot more people into memorising I think, since it’d make memorising significantly easy i.e. lower the barrier to entry.
I’d suggest simply adding pages to the wiki with the following format.
Main page with links to all subpages:
- periodic table
- US states
- world’s countries
And then within each page:
"50 US states. Find below the names and associated images:
Connect two items and then cut the strand between them
Horse with a really long mane
Picture someone chewing on a massive fish
Picture two hamsters, one old and one new with a cross through the old
(you can find all 50 at https://drive.google.com/open?id=16jvhtU1FfyCIH0SCGsWu7kZigMEGmpHx)
Everyone can be free to add their own images that they used giving people more options, and people who use the resources can vote on the best ones. Someone can each month go through and clean the options up, limiting it to the top 3 for example.
Any time someone wants to memorise a new data set they can look at the topic list, see if it exists and save themselves some time. And if it doesn’t, they can create one, expanding the knowledge base that we have. I can see this becoming a super valuable resource. At the moment for example I’m learning Spanish, memorising vocabulary. The pace at which I do it is quite low since I have trouble coming up with images, so a lot I just brute force. But if we collectively create images for the 1000, or 2000, or even more most common words, anyone who wanted to learn the language could potentially acquire the requisite vocabulary in a matter of days.
To motivate people to contribute we could track how many images someone contributes, and create a leader board. It’d be awesome if some of the masters started working on these data sets for practice creating images - a few of them, an hour or so a day and soon anybody could memorise anything within almost no time at all.
What do you guys think?