Isn't this really time consuming, or am I really missing something?

[This thread was copied here from the old forum]


LadyBluebell 23 October, 2012 - 15:17

I completed the pMemory course about 20 months ago, but I have done nothing fancy memory-wise since. It seems to be presented everywhere as so natural & instant that I feel I am missing something of major importance.

For starters, I had so many flashcards for figurative codes of letters, numbers, & other information for the course. Plus, if I had been in school, it sounds like I would have needed a personal, made-up, specialized figurative code language for each course I was studying. Even though there was a pattern to the codes, number/letter wise, & some sort of system for the made up language (for whatever subject), it seems there is still some major rote learning involved. Even though I improved my linking & visualization skills, making flashcards & memorizing all of those codes is still a good bit of work.

Plus the palace, personal journey, loci, whatever you want to call them. Although I obviously used places familiar to me, I still needed to cement the places into memory. In order to have a fairly high number of images, I had to include some items I might not touch or think about on a daily basis. Like the fancy decorative rabbit in the kitchen, the small unobtrusive picture on the wall, etc. I also found some items not 100% intuitive as to simply clockwise, up-to-down, etc.

I know these uber-memory systems have merit. However, it seems like there is really a whole lot of extra work involved. It’s really like learning a whole new language, but in a way much more because the specific order of everything is often so precise.

You can learn “list these 25 items” quickly & easily, but it seems to have an enormous learning curve for practical use. Hopefully, I am wrong & there is something easy & basic I am missing. I am hoping someone here can help. Thanks!


suncover 23 October, 2012 - 17:49

Welcome to the site, by the way :slight_smile: I think you were expecting it to be too instantaneous and got discouraged because of that. Like anything else, it needs work. The benefit comes from once you have put in the work, you start to reap the rewards in the form of a very easy-to-use and powerful system. Sure, some things require some preparation, but once you’re done with the preparation, you will be able to use and reuse your memory palaces/journeys/methods over and over with much less effort subsequent times.

Compare it like this - rote memorisation, you have to know the topic, and repeat it over and over until it sticks, and hope you don’t miss anything. You have the preparation and work in repeating it numerous times, and then no guarantee you will remember the info. With memory systems like these, you may do some prep of visualising your journeys/palaces or numbers, etc (all of which is rather relaxing), but once this is done, the only things you have to do are:
a) Understand it if you are studying something
b) Figure out the image you want to store
You don’t have to spend hours repeating the image to yourself - once is often enough, and then it stays there for a very long time too. Take this real world example - I attend Church each week, and used to often forget what was said in the sermons shortly after. This was even with understanding the content - I just didn’t have it stuck in my head. Even repeating the points over and over to myself, if I stopped repeating them, within 10 minutes they would have easily disappeared from my brain. Then, I started using a Memory Palace for this. I was able to remember the whole sermon for 2 to 3 weeks at a time, without any review after initially committing it to memory, which I was able to do all whilst listening to the sermon. This, even with very little practice. So, you see, the same principle can be extended into other areas. Spend 5 extra minutes figuring out how to encode your Biology homework rather than 30 extra minutes trying to remember it precisely by repeating over and over.

I hope this helps to make sense? The more you practice trying to encode stuff as well, the easier and quicker it comes to you :slight_smile:


LadyBluebell 24 October, 2012 - 10:06

Thank you very much for your helpful reply & your warm welcome. I really appreciate it.

Of course, we all would love if this type of system was instantaneous, but I’m not really sure if that was my main problem. Before starting the pMemory course, I either read, or asked & was told each lesson was 1-2 hours. That sounded reasonable & at first it seemed to be the case. However, there were a lot of figurative codes to learn, so that took some extra time. I ended up with a huge ANKI collection, but I felt it was worth the effort since I was learning a system that would serve me for life, especially if I ever went back to school. (I’m also not sure if ANKI flashcards are good for a memory expert in training, but I used them.)

Then began the loci / Cicero collections. That’s where I started to become totally confused. I honestly have never really understood this system completely, & I’m sure that’s a lot of my problem. I just started to realize I wasn’t tying all of this together, seeing how I could feasibly go about using this.

The hours I was spending were really adding up. I thought each lesson would be 1-2 hours, & I was spending a lot more time than this. I questioned why I was doing this, plus I wondered how the course was set up for people to do all of these exercises with the learning of figurative codes & memorizing journeys so quickly. I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought I must be a lot less talented than most. (Way after I gave up, I read that an instructor hinted to a student that only 1-2% complete the course, so maybe not.)

When the Loci / Cicero / Journey system is briefly described historically, I totally get it. It makes perfect sense when giving a speech, remembering a list, etc. But for memorizing facts, not always so much.

For starters, I’m still not 100% clear on the specifics of my journeys, paths, or whatnot. Courses invariably give an example of a shower, dishwasher, sink, or something of the like. All of these have somewhat complex parts that one interacts with. But do you add items like pictures, figurines, or mirrors to your landmarks, or is it just things like couches, tables, & major appliances? Does each item need to have the same number of components?

I had the plan of creating about 25 per day. Writing them down for later, mentally walking through them several times. Some of them are not 100% obvious, even places like my home. Order, things I may forget about (I got about 150 items including figurines & all, but I’m not sure if that’s right), etc.

If I’m remembering right, one generally creates a chain of items off each Cicero item part. Like connecting to the washing machine basket is apple, blueberry, cantaloupe, date, eggplant & connecting to the DVD disc tray is cat, mouse, cheese, ham, & pig. Not sure if the food & animals in this case would be divided into parts - I never got this far.

But even though there is obviously a pattern to these images, they would still need to be sealed into memory. Which item, which part, to which chain?

Not only that, but how many? I am guessing that memory competitors have a few thousand set aside for just competitions & short-term demonstrations, which can be reused. But the more long-term (like what a student would use), can’t be reused for a long while, if ever. (Not sure.) So that’s a lot of initial set-up.

Another thing about this system…I wrote earlier that I understand if for oration but not totally for school facts. I will give a hypothetical example.

Suppose Minnie the Memory Master & her non-memory-trained friend Jane decide to take a Spanish class together. Neither of them has any background in the Spanish language. They decide to complete the LinkWord Spanish course as a supplement to their class. Although Minnie would create links like the ones in this course anyhow, she completes it nonetheless for the inspiration & ready-made word lists.

An obvious example: the Spanish word for cow is “vaca.” Connect a cow & a vacuum somehow, a cow vacuuming…

Now Minnie would have an obvious room for her Spanish information - her Spanish classroom. Jane obviously doesn’t, for she just learns by repetition, rote memorization, hoping it’ll stay in there. (Sounds like my college experience.)

But does Minnie need to connect this cow vacuuming mental scene to one of her Spanish classroom loci images? Or loci to cow - cow with an apron vacuuming? This is a major question of mine.

There is already a link in this case, so is loci necessary? Would Minnie’s method for going through the LinkWord course be fundamentally different from Jane’s? I would assume Minnie would be better at creating the mental images in her mind than Jane, but other than that, might it be the same?

I realize this has gotten quite long, but I feel I have never really understood the background of this. Although my pMemory experience was pleasant enough, I think there might be something to this paraphrased statement I read somewhere: “pMemory has a way of making the easy difficult.”

I feel there is a Eureka! moment about this I have never had. I appreciate your help.


metivier 24 October, 2012 - 12:53

I appreciate all that you are saying because memory techniques do sometimes seem like an inordinate amount of work.

I have written about how for me, mnemonics are like a bike. Everyone can ride one after they’ve learned the mechanics, but each individual bike requires some adjusting. Raise the seat, change the angle of the handlebars - you may even have to oil the change or add a bell.

These things take time and loving care. Then there is riding the bike, which takes wind and energy. But just as you would go to the gym to work out your body, here you are engaging in mental exercise, which also has physiological benefits in terms of sending more oxygen rich blood to the brain.

In other words, there is more to mnemonics than just having a better memory. It’s about having a better brain for its own sake, and understanding the expanses of your mind at a higher level in order to achieve deliberate outcomes that you’ve set for yourself.

I hope you’ll continue telling us about your journey into memory here.


mrdurdenx 24 October, 2012 - 19:15

It is “time-consuming” to review loci and cement informantion permanently.
But if one completes, one can retrieve whatever one wants without any physical aid.
Some people seem to think that Mnemotechnique is a “magic pill”. Those who think so have no understanding on human brain.


Jimbo1 24 October, 2012 - 23:54

Hi
I don’t think the problem is you - I think the problem is the Pmemory system that you are using. Unburden yourself from it and use a much simpler system.


Mukkinese 25 October, 2012 - 07:14

A problem with these courses is that they can overwhelm a beginner with information and you feel that you need to master it all to get the benefit. The truth is you can improve your memory considerably with some very basic methods.

The link system is probably the first we learn, no pegs to memorize, no loci, just linking one image to another. This alone can be very useful. With the simple linking of images we can learn more than “shopping lists”. Think of any list, even a complex one, like the periodic table of elements, for instance, just break it down into groups, then attach the group images to an image of the table as a list, then attach a list of elements in each group to the symbol for the group.

Once you set up basic lists of knowledge it then becomes easier to expand on them, like a mentally, visualized Mind Map.

Pegs are great for organizing new information and a numbers system will become necessary at some point, but start easy and expand on simple systems first. You will be amazed at how easy it becomes with use.


BuddingProspects 26 October, 2012 - 09:39

Yes, the problem is that you’re using the wrong system. Pmemory is way too involved, too convoluted.

Do yourself a favor and start looking at books by Dominic O’Brien, Harry Lorayne, etc. All, or most, of your questions will be answered in full. Stay away from books that have graphs and “studies” of memory. Look for the books that have nothing but technique (O’Brien, Lorayne, for example).

Keep it simple

I have the official PDF copy of the Pmemory system and it’s bunk. Lots of pseudo-scientific gobbledegook.

“Without knowledge of how information becomes ‘fixed’, remains brain the brain [sic], it is impossible to create an efficient memorization system. A description of memory mechanisms is provided in the GMS. Two mechanisms of connection fixation by the brain are singled out, namely ‘electric memory’ and ‘reflex memory.’”

“An understanding of the mechanics of written and oral information is described and a simple scheme of reproductive imaging provided.”

“In addition, the GMS system introduces the concept of ‘precise’ or ‘sign’ information, which is not yet distinguished in academic psychology.”

So much of this crapola throughout the Pmemory Manual. I haven’t the foggiest idea of exactly “how” the brain really remembers (in scientific terms, that is), but that didn’t stop me from memorizing everything I wanted to memorize.


Hype 27 October, 2012 - 05:51

My hatred for Pmemory is well-known. It is an awful system designed to purposefully make things more difficult for you than they should be, so that when you finally do get it, it makes it feel like it’s worth the hundreds of dollars you spent for it. As opposed to the $5 a book would cost, or even for free from the internet.


Kinma 27 October, 2012 - 11:22

It is also well-known that I agree with Hype.

My advice is to start over. Pmemory makes the easy difficult. Should be the other way aound.
I have given a lot of examples on this forum on how I approach mnemonics.
With a little bit of practice this stuff is supposed to be easy and I give a lot of examples on how easy this is.
So your feeling that this stuff should be easier is right.

Watch this video and do the exercise with Nelson. You will see how easy this is!
Let me know, please.


Mystery 28 October, 2012 - 08:50

I think it depends on what techniques you want to use and how you use them. Some really are instant, like simple associations or putting a few things around your house, some become instant after a bit of preparation – like number peg lists – and some take constant preparation/updating – like building new loci–.


LadyBluebell 29 October, 2012 - 16:45

Thank you all for your insight. I really appreciate all of your help.

I am glad to know pMemory is more confusing than it should be. Until recently, I really thought I had some sort of memory defect, for not only did I struggle with memorizing for school but I also had major difficulty with a super easy, no high-intelligence required memory course!

I am now taking your advice & am reading some memory books that are MUCH cheaper than pMemory. I got everything on memory development available from the library & ordered some other cheap “classics” from Thrift Books. I could probably get everything I actually need from only one of these, but I generally like to read several books on the same topic to give me a broader knowledge base. Plus, I don’t have the huge rush I might if I were in school.

I realize that I failed to do this before originally purchasing & going through pMemory. I was convinced that with the 60 or so lessons it would be much more thorough & that it was a totally different system than the others, not a largely complicated repackaging of enormously less expensive material.

Plus, it really sounds like a PAO number system would be much more quickly usable than the pMemory system I learned (& have forgotten).

I am now reading Kenneth Higbee’s “Your Memory: How It Works & How to Improve It” for it was the only was available for pick up at the library. Although I am only in Chapter 4, he has already answered several questions pMemory never did.

One thing I do disagree with though is what strikes me as the idea (presented in this book) that only the instant-gratification seeking, highly gullible, & lazy crowd could possibly fall for the greatly exaggerated promises made by various courses. I think sometimes a history of difficulty with an endeavor - memorizing for school with an enormous amount of work & time involved, however poorly done, can make you think there is a lower level basic problem that once identified will make the rest of it fall into place.

Here is a story that resonated with me, although I never had this exact problem. I apologize in advance if this is a bit inaccurate. In Temple Grandin’s “Thinking in Pictures,” she writes about it taking her a while to realize words existed, words had meaning, the English language existed, so to speak. Before this, she thought the volume, tone, inflection, etc. was the only language. (Actually, I remember when I somehow realized that the music on the radio had words - I knew kiddie songs without background accompaniment had words, bu I thought the popular music on the radio was nonsense vocal syllables, maybe a form of scat singing, so maybe that’s why it hit me.) Although this didn’t fix everything for her overnight, it would have been a huge step forward, a major Eureka! moment. I think sometimes some of us expect a greater revelation than might actually exist, feeling there is something basic, simple, & profound that we can “fix”.

I really appreciate all of your help, & I will see where my reading takes me. Best wishes to you all! I will keep you posted.


Metivier 29 October, 2012 - 17:18

LadyBluebell wrote:

One thing I do disagree with though is what strikes me as the idea (presented in this book) that only the instant-gratification seeking, highly gullible, & lazy crowd could possibly fall for the greatly exaggerated promises made by various courses. I think sometimes a history of difficulty with an endeavor - memorizing for school with an enormous amount of work & time involved, however poorly done, can make you think there is a lower level basic problem that once identified will make the rest of it fall into place.

You are definitely right to question this point, LadyBluebell. I don’t know the product you bought, but I’d be willing to bet that it had a long sales letter filled with language patterns designed to place prospective buyers into a pseudo-hypnotic state. These sales letters work especially well on people who are pre-motivated to buy particular products because they are seeking a particular benefit. Really great copywriting is designed to alternately stimulate the right and left sides of the brain so that people get both the fantasy/fantastic outcome elements and the practical nuts and bolts information they need in order to decide to purchase.

Anyhow, I know a bit about this because I studied copywriting so I could market my own tiny memory skills product. It is an ethical debate because all advertising is persuasive by nature. But I believe that there are good products and bad products and the integrity lies in how well the product fulfills the promises of the salesmanship.

Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in memorization.


suncover 29 October, 2012 - 17:32

I think some good discoveries have come through this discussion for you so far, LadyBluebell, but just to summarise my feelings on it all:

  1. The course you took was way too complicated, and I believe that contributed to your viewpoint of this being too hard (as well as causing you to become too concerned and think more deeply than you need to regarding this topic)
  2. All memory work is based on images, and linking concepts (to different and varying degrees and implementations, but the same underlying concept)
  3. You don’t always need Loci, or a journey. There are only specific times I’d use this. To take it to your Spanish example, there would be no need for Loci in this instance, only the linking/image part of it. You would be doing extra work if you were putting this in a Loci, and for no reason. You can easily have the image of your vacuuming cow, and know the word is “Vaca” (I’m 90% sure that’s the word, and that’s just from reading your image once :P). All you’d need to do is, if you were thinking “what is the Spanish for cow?”, picture the cow, and the image of said Vacuum will pop into your head :slight_smile: Does that make sense?

I would answer your other points, but I think it’s been made fairly clear overall that there are much simpler and more effective ways to do this, and although it still takes work, the benefit does pay off many times over. Hope the books are going well? :slight_smile:

[These posts were copied here from the old forum.]


LadyBluebell 30 October, 2012 - 14:16

Hi everyone! Thank you for all of your responses. I really appreciate your clarification of the need of loci for my Spanish example, suncover. It would have saved me a lot of fear over creating pathways if I had understood this earlier.

Just a quick update: I just finished Kenneth Higbee’s “Your Memory…” I would definitely give it a 10. Highly recommended. It is an excellent overview of many of the major memory techniques, but more importantly, it is very honest & upfront about what these techniques AREN’T. I appreciate reading of the realistic expectations, these are helpful techniques, even if they don’t turn you into Rainman.

I know we have all heard the corny saying paraphrased here: “Aim for the stars & even if you fail you’ll still reach the moon.” Nice idea about striving for excellence, but I found that sometimes for me I see the stars as where I should be, where anyone else who had done what I had done would have been a long time ago, assuming this is where everyone else is, etc. I conclude there is something inherently wrong with my aptitude at my current endeavor. Even if I have figuratively reached the moon, passed the moon, I honestly can’t see it. I can’t see my changed surroundings, I can’t see what I have learned, accomplished, or improved. I can’t see how far from Earth I have travelled. I only see how far I am from the “average,” which from the descriptive sales pitch, is probably a distant galaxy. I didn’t even realize I was aiming for the stars - I thought the incredible outcomes were the inevitable result of following the directions.

I will say that “Your Memory” is a great intro to memory techniques. I wish I had read it years ago, even if only before purchasing any memory course. It gives real-life, specific, doable examples. It is much more realistic than either course I have done.

I will let you know how my other books come along. Thanks again!


magicquin 31 October, 2012 - 11:59

Hi LadyBluebell,

just my two cents, this is something that i have found in myself, the more i have done the memory techniques (from this site alone) the more i find my “base” memory improves daily, even without applying the techniques. the brain is a muscle and these exercises are gym for our brains.

even though using the techniques can be a little time consuming they definitely do work, i have been memorizing the bill of rights and i am really blown away at how well these techniques work. I am able to recall any of the sections that i have committed to memory with little effort, granted it does take a bit of work. But once you get going it does get easier.


odranoel 3 November, 2012 - 09:31

Hi LadyBluebell,

I encourage you to stick with pmemory, especially if you’ve already made the initial investment of time and money. You might try asking for specific advice on those forums, especially if you don’t understand the language used in the lessons. I found a comment, years ago, from a woman who was editing the pmemory course to put it into better English, and seemed to be running into trouble understanding what the author was trying to convey. If she completed the job they did not elect to use her edited version, or her editing was not competent. Whatever the case might be, it is important to communicate with the instructors to get a plain English explanation when you can’t decipher the original text.

Others have made the comment that the course is overcomplicated. The techniques, from the beginning of the course, seem to be geared toward complex text memorization. So, yes, you end up putting in a lot of upfront effort to master techniques that might be overkill when you have to memorize simpler information.

Regarding your question about memorizing foreign language vocabulary: in the pmemory course, you would indeed attach an image of a cow to a support image. What probably wasn’t adequately explained to you is that the pmemory course assumes that you will be doing all repetition and review without external aids. For example, many people will create a vocabulary list and either carry around flash cards to review, or will put the words into Anki to implement a spaced-repetition system. In the pmemory course, the assumption is that you will review your vocabulary list mentally, without flash cards or other prompts. This has its advantages - you can review your Spanish vocabulary while standing in line at the store, for example - but does require extra preparation of cicero images.

One frustration I noted from you is that you don’t want to have to come up with lots of loci. I’m not sure how far you are into the course, but you actually learn techniques to avoid that problem. So, for example, when you go through the “my first database” course, you memorize a huge number of items, but you only use five cicero images. In that case, you attach an initial image to the cicero base, and then chain another four images to the initial image. Each of those images is then broken down into five loci that you can store actual information on. In the first database course, these auxilary images are spoonfed to you without rhyme or reason, but you’ll learn later on that you can replicate the same effect more easily by basically playing a quick word-association game with yourself to generate the auxilary images. My point is that the only time you need lots of loci is when you are using the MM software, and that is because using the loci directly tends to be faster than going through a tree of images.

Anyway, the more you practice, the faster you will become. I hope this helped somewhat, and I wish you luck.


JeffreyLucas 4 November, 2012 - 10:56

Pmemory 2.0, i follow it to and this course sucks. The author explains the mnemonics wrong to the people. So, give Dominic O’Brien a try. I hope for you that you downloaded the course like i did…

What you need is to do twice a day a few exercises that you can find on the pmemory website. Further you must read that ebook from Dominic O’Brien to know how to start. If you knew how to use the loci and link/story method, than youre on the right way to memorize books, numbers and other things. It is not so hard, but you must practise everyday.


LadyBluebell 7 November, 2012 - 13:00

Odranoel - your statement about pmemory not adequately explaining that their system is for reviewing without external aids really clarifies A LOT! Thank you!

I did basically go through the course, learning the connected images to loci. But still, they are images that I would need to learn. I totally understood the purpose of either loci or some other list of images for speeches, remembering a specific list, tricks, etc. However, I could never figure out why I would do this for every vocabulary word, each fact, each item. Even parts of a whole, that’s still a good bit.

This is a huge reason I was so overwhelmed. Without being able to repeat loci for a long while, it seemed like a never ending cycle. Everything needs a loci of some sort plus the connection!

A lot of the course that made no sense falls into place now. I really appreciate your clarification. Although an earlier posting clarified that I probably don’t need a loci for every connection, pMemory now makes more sense. Thank you so much for your help.


LadyBluebell 8 November, 2012 - 11:49

I just finished reading Lorayne’s “…Super Power Memory” & I found it to be a great help. I told myself I would just read for now & develop a plan later, but sometimes my questions get in the way.

As I mentioned, I had started reviewing figurative codes for probably 200-300 numbers with the pMemory system. I really don’t remember them, though. Don’t know if the fault was completely mine or the courses, but although it showed a system of sorts to obtain the images for the numbers, I feel I did too much pure memorization of each code & not enough converting image to number, number to image, if that makes any sense. From what I have been reading & inferring, it seems like the Major System focuses more on being able to convert a number into an image on the fly.

I am somewhat debating between the PAO system I have read about & the Major System. One book I read seemed to say that pegs could be created with Major System images as a (better) alternative to loci palaces. Is this accurate? Do you have any tips on this? Using both for different purposes? Thanks!


odranoel 8 November, 2012 - 12:24

The major system and the pmemory system for generating figurative codes are conceptually equivalent. They are both phonetic systems. The pmemory system is based around the frequencies of consonants in English, so that frequent letters are paired up with less frequent letters, for the most part, so that it is a bit easier to construct images on the fly. My opinion is that there’s no advantage to switch from one to the other, unless you are following a particular program.

Memorizing the figurative codes is supposed to be a process that occurs in stages. In the first stage, you learn the phonetic system, and get comfortable translating from number to letters and vice versa. Once you have that under your belt, you start learning the images/words for the numbers themselves. While the course provides some tricks to help you remember the figurative codes, for many of them you will have to translate a number into letters and use that information to figure out the word for the number. Over time, and with practice, the translation should become automatic.

I mentioned before that pmemory seems to give you more image options for a given number. This is both a strength and a weakness. For example, when trying to remember the image for the number 87, you’d translate that to GQL SD. You could form a number of words with these letters, such as gas, goose, god, quisling, lasso, load, and so on. The image given to you by the course is gosling. It is pretty obvious why, if you’ve forgotten the image, you might not be able to recover it from the phonetic system. My system was simply to create flashcards for the first 100 images, and for FCs I routinely had trouble with, I came up with new images for them. My methodology for creating the new images was to use the first noun I came up with based on the phonetic system, under the theory that I would likely call up the same word again were I to forget the FC. In my example above, that would mean I would choose “gas” as the new FC and ignore “gosling.” There’s nothing that says you have to use the codes they gave you.

I haven’t used the PAO system, so I won’t speculate.

As far as using FCs as pegs, the pmemory course very explicitly states that you should never use a figurative code as an association base. You shouldn’t attach data to figurative codes because you will need to use those codes in many different places, and you’d end up confusing the information. You are better off using loci and refreshing your memory on generating pegs by association. Example: birthday cake, candles, nightlight, monster, closet. I started out with the image of a birthday cake, which makes me think of candles, which makes me think of a dim light in the darkness and therefore a nightlight, which makes me think of children using nightlights because of being afraid of monsters, who live in the closet. Now I can attach information to each of those images and their parts.

Good luck!


Kinma 10 November, 2012 - 07:59

LadyBluebell wrote:

the Spanish word for cow is “vaca.” Connect a cow & a vacuum somehow, a cow vacuuming…

Now Minnie would have an obvious room for her Spanish information - her Spanish classroom. Jane obviously doesn’t, for she just learns by repetition, rote memorization, hoping it’ll stay in there. (Sounds like my college experience.)

But does Minnie need to connect this cow vacuuming mental scene to one of her Spanish classroom loci images? Or loci to cow - cow with an apron vacuuming? This is a major question of mine.

There is already a link in this case, so is loci necessary? Would Minnie’s method for going through the LinkWord course be fundamentally different from Jane’s? I would assume Minnie would be better at creating the mental images in her mind than Jane, but other than that, might it be the same?

This is a very interesting observation and IMO touches the very heart of memorizing.

If you create the link with the cow and the vacuum and if your link is strong enough there is (IMHO) no need to use a locus. Because if you immediately see a vacuum when you think of a cow, or vice versa, there is no added value in storing it into a locus.
The added value comes when you want to serialize a set of words or when you want to rehearse a set of words.

When learning a new language one needs to learns thousands of words.
Creating links takes a bit of time and storing the link into a locus takes another bit of time.
So if you can bypass the locus, you save a bunch of time.
I have tried both ways and find that you can not learn thousands of words and not make mistakes, forget words, etc.
In the real world you will have to relearn some words when learning a new language.
Whether this is with just creating links, whether this is with rote learning or whether this is with using the most elaborate system.

So in my view it all comes down to efficiency. The method of loci let’s you rehearse your words by walking around your palace.
The riddle you need to solve is 'what is the way that you learn the most words, making no extreme amounts of mistakes and in the least amount of time.

The solution to this is personal.
You have invested a lot of time into pmemory. Work with it if it give you enough results. Discard it if it doesn’t.

LadyBluebell wrote:

I realize this has gotten quite long, but I feel I have never really understood the background of this. Although my pMemory experience was pleasant enough, I think there might be something to this paraphrased statement I read somewhere: “pMemory has a way of making the easy difficult.”

That person was me and I said that here.


BuddingProspects 11 November, 2012 - 17:41

There is NO NEED to place an image in a loci when it comes to vocabulary words. If “vaca” means cow, and “vaca” reminds you of vacuum cleaner, well, that’s all you need. This simply means that ANY TIME you see “vacuum cleaner” you’ll INSTANTLY think of a cow using it, and then the word “vaca” will appear. The same in reverse: seeing “vaca” will INSTANTLY remind you of a cow using a vacuum cleaner.

Of course, you can place the image in a locus, if that’s what you want. But the point is that it is not NECESSARY to think of “place” for a vocabulary word.

Instant association is a very effective way of dealing with hundreds or thousands of words and you’ll never have to worry about running out of loci. All you need do is create a “proper” image, i.e., an image that’s funny, weird, stupid, sexual, outrageous, etc. In other words, simply make it MEMORABLE to you, in YOUR OWN WAY.

This will free you from “placing” an image. Dominic O’Brien used this method to memorize answers to Trivial Pursuit questions.

Yes, he also suggested that you place verbs in a park or gym, or divide a city into areas for masculine and feminine words, etc. I’ve always wondered if he was successful at this for, say, 5000 or 10,000 words. He doesn’t say.

I’ve always only used instant association and, for me, it works. In this way, I never have to spend time “finding a place” to put the image.


odranoel 11 November, 2012 - 19:04

BuddingProspects wrote:

There is NO NEED to place an image in a loci when it comes to vocabulary words. If “vaca” means cow, and “vaca” reminds you of vacuum cleaner, well, that’s all you need. This simply means that ANY TIME you see “vacuum cleaner” you’ll INSTANTLY think of a cow using it, and then the word “vaca” will appear. The same in reverse: seeing “vaca” will INSTANTLY remind you of a cow using a vacuum cleaner.

Respectfully, one still requires some technique for reviewing vocabulary over the long term. Some mnemonics or associations will be so strong, or words used so frequently in your studies, that you never need to go over them. But many will require some dedicated means of making sure the vocabulary stays in your memory. That said, I think spaced repetition software like Anki is probably the best approach for long term memorization. In the short term, it often helps to review daily or even every few hours, and the most convenient means of doing that is, I think, a mental list. Or you can carry around index cards.


BuddingProspects 11 November, 2012 - 19:21

Yes, of course reviewing is necessary. I was simply speaking of the technique for encoding the word in the first place.

I made my own flashcards and carried them around. (Hint = cut an index card into thirds and then use them as flashcards. You don’t need a whole index card for just one word!)

I reviewed them over and over. I got to the point where I only had to review twice a week, then once a week, then once a month, and then the intervals got longer and longer. If you PHYSICALLY make the cards yourself, you’ll make the reinforcement stronger than if you rely on ANKI, because you’d be getting INVOLVED in the words in a way you can’t do with ANKI. Well, that’s what worked for me.

But I still say that instant association is the best way, for the reasons I stated.


Metivier 11 November, 2012 - 19:23

BuddingProspects wrote:

There is NO NEED to place an image in a loci when it comes to vocabulary words. If “vaca” means cow, and “vaca” reminds you of vacuum cleaner, well, that’s all you need. This simply means that ANY TIME you see “vacuum cleaner” you’ll INSTANTLY think of a cow using it, and then the word “vaca” will appear. The same in reverse: seeing “vaca” will INSTANTLY remind you of a cow using a vacuum cleaner.

Of course, you can place the image in a locus, if that’s what you want. But the point is that it is not NECESSARY to think of “place” for a vocabulary word.

Instant association is a very effective way of dealing with hundreds or thousands of words and you’ll never have to worry about running out of loci. All you need do is create a “proper” image, i.e., an image that’s funny, weird, stupid, sexual, outrageous, etc. In other words, simply make it MEMORABLE to you, in YOUR OWN WAY.

This will free you from “placing” an image. Dominic O’Brien used this method to memorize answers to Trivial Pursuit questions.

Yes, he also suggested that you place verbs in a park or gym, or divide a city into areas for masculine and feminine words, etc. I’ve always wondered if he was successful at this for, say, 5000 or 10,000 words. He doesn’t say.

I’ve always only used instant association and, for me, it works. In this way, I never have to spend time “finding a place” to put the image.

This would not work very well for me because I do not like to learn languages randomly. I like to learn them alphabetically.

Take a word like Zerbrechen in German. I have it along a journey with a number of other Zer words, as well as Zu words. With Zerbrechen I have Zerbrechlich and Zerbrechlichkeit at the same location. Before that zerschalgen, before that zerfleischen, etc.

I have no problem with recall and don’t need to actually go through my various journeys to find the words when I need them. But because I memorize alphabetically, loci is for me the only way to travel.


BuddingProspects 11 November, 2012 - 19:51

If you have no problem with recall, then no one has the right to say that what you’re doing is “wrong”.

You may not “like” to learn vocabulary words randomly, but you CAN do it if you had to. You’ve simply made a CHOICE not to. If your system of encoding the words works (and it obviously does work), then it makes no difference whatsoever if you do it alphabetically or randomly. Loci don’t care if you place them all according to initial letter or if you drop them randomly. There is no inherent value to HOW you place them, because they’re locked into a locus, and locking happens whether you do it randomly or not.

I don’t try to talk you out of your system. I’m only saying that your logic is off when you attempt to invest “alphabetically” with some kind of superior power, when it’s only a matter of choice, of personal preference.

Instant association is my way, so that I can cut out the extra step of trying to figure out a “place” to put the word, of trying to figure out an “appropriate” place, of trying constantly to come up with journey after journey for 20,000 words or of extending a journey to 20,000 places.

If you want to come up with 20,000 loci for 20,000 vocabulary words and if it does, in fact, work for you, then who’s to say “no”? Not I.


Kinma 12 November, 2012 - 11:23

I agree with the previous speakers. There is no inherent need for using loci when learning a language.
You can do it if you feel this will be advantageous in some way, but again it is not necessary.

Create strong links where you think of a cow when you see a vacuum (in your mind) and when you think of a vacuum you see a cow. If you can do this; that’s it. That is all there is to learning words.

Then, after learning maybe 100-200 words, there might be 5 or 10 that seem particularly difficult.
Put them inside a palace and rehearse them for 5 days straight. I bet you will never forget those difficult words.


Alex 13 November, 2012 - 20:08

Short answer:

Yes. It is time-consuming.

Longer answer:

Do you type using the hunt-and-peck method, or do you just sit down at the keyboard and the letters show up as you type semi-consciously? It takes months and months to get to the point where you can sit down, start typing, and then do something else while you tap on the keys. Was it worth all that effort?


odranoel 13 November, 2012 - 20:38

Alex makes an excellent point. It takes time to develop a skill that works like a reflex. It is the same thing for any complicated human activity: playing an instrument, learning mathematics, even driving. The more you work at it, the faster you will be. Like learning music, memory techniques have more than one aspect that you must master if you want to be a well-rounded mnemonist. Anybody can learn to competently play one or two songs on an instrument, but musicianship includes being able to read music, improvise, understand the relationships between chords, and so on.

Learning the major system or something similar is just one aspect of being competent, but if you stick with it and put in the effort, I think you will find it is worthwhile.


Matiaz 25 November, 2012 - 18:01

Hello, i understand that Locci is not necessary unless im trying to store concepts in ceratin order in my head.
Im trying to learn cities and and capitals and agree that i dont need to do the extra work by trying to find a place for each country and capital.

Now i need to learn a large number of importante cities for every country in my geography class (also rivers, mountains, ports, mines, etc), so my question is:

Can i store a large amount of cities for each country with using locci? I dont need an specific order or secuence, i only need to know where every citie belongs, as well as rivers, mines, etc.

looking fwd for a response.


odranoel 25 November, 2012 - 20:55

matiaz wrote:

Hello, i understand that Locci is not necessary unless im trying to store concepts in ceratin order in my head.
Im trying to learn cities and and capitals and agree that i dont need to do the extra work by trying to find a place for each country and capital.

Now i need to learn a large number of importante cities for every country in my geography class (also rivers, mountains, ports, mines, etc), so my question is:

Can i store a large amount of cities for each country with using locci? I dont need an specific order or secuence, i only need to know where every citie belongs, as well as rivers, mines, etc.

looking fwd for a response.

Loci or a memory palace is the preferred technique, in my mind, when you have a one-to-many relationship. In this case, for each country, you have a bunch of bits of information that you want to be associated with the country. Loci allows you to group items without redundantly keeping track of the country for each item.

However, you will probably want to base the technique on how you are being tested. Grouping items in the way I suggest would lead to inefficient recall if you are given the city or geographic feature and then expected to give the country.
In that situation, you could just create images for each city or feature and attach an image for the country to the image for the city or feature. As an example: if you needed to remember that the Tiber is in Italy, you might remember it by imagining a tree falling (timber!) with spaghetti and meatballs on the tree. You could imagine a garden hose wrapped around the tree stump to signify a river. When you read “Tiber,” you will then be able to immediate derive that it is a river in Italy.


LociInTheSky 1 June, 2014 - 21:12

Lol, it really is, imho…

I was at a bar talking to the American competitor Livan about random words after the USAMC. The 43rd and 44th words I believe…were “deserve” and “rose.” He said he remembered those by thinking of how his girlfriend deserves a rose for putting up with all his training! xD

“Mine too,” I thought.

Sorry to respond only to the thread title :\