Kinesthetic or Tactile Mnemonics

[This thread was copied here from the old forum.]


Loki 18 August, 2012 - 04:12

I remember the detective character in the manga “Monster” by Naoki Urasawa using a hand motion mnemonic system. This was fiction, of course, but are any of you familiar with mnemonic systems which rely on bodily movement or positioning?

I have a feeling that muscle memory could be used to great effect either in a mnemonic of its own or in combination with existing mnemonics. I know of certain hand based mnemonic systems being used in the past.


outlawyr 20 August, 2012 - 05:20

2 thoughts:

  1. this is what happens naturally when you learn a physical activity like walking, gymnastics, playing a guitar.
  2. it has limited usefulness for memorizing since there are only so many physical gestures one could do without looking like you’re dancing La Cucaracha on a frying pan.

3rd bonus thought: This does, however, make me think of Chismbop


Josh Cohen 14 September, 2012 - 14:58

Copied from my other comment in this thread:

I have hand movements for the nine vowels in my mnemonic systems (PDF). Running through my 000-999 syllables over and over did create a little bit of synesthetic relationship between the vowels and a sense of a movement. It doesn’t work like an abacus, but I think that it does create another association.

See also: Developing a Mnemonic System for Music

All my images also rhyme. Example: 14, 24, 34, 44, 54, etc. all rhyme (TA, NA, MA, RA, LA) and have the same movement based on the vowel (4 = A).

Some images have their own movement – even if I don’t physically complete it, my mind goes through the motion…


Josh Cohen 15 September, 2012 - 09:33

I was looking for the study that I read about that and just found it:

So Cook divided third and fourth graders (none of whom could correctly solve an equivalence problem) into three groups. All the kids were taught to solve the problems. But one group was given a phrase to say aloud to help guide them. They were told to say, “I want to make one side equal to the other side."

Cook didn’t tell the second group of kids to say anything. Instead, she told the second group to make a strange hand gesture as they solved the problem–they were to wave their hands on both sides of the equation as they totaled the sum. The third set of kids was taught to say the phrase and make the wave gesture.

Immediately after the training, the kids were tested to see how much they had learned. All of them had improved their ability.

Then, four weeks later, the children were in their regular classrooms when the teachers surprised them with a pop quiz of equivalence problems. Disaster struck. Of the kids taught to say the instructional phrase, 90 percent had forgotten how to solve the problems.

Amazingly, more than 90 percent of the kids who used the gesture in their training remembered how to solve the problems. Making the gesture helped encode the memory for long-term retrieval.

The linked-to Newsweek article seems to be missing, but here’s another one:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/31/hand-gestures-could-make-kids-smarter/

Scientific American has something here:

Previous research has shown that students who are asked to gesture while talking about math problems are better at learning how to do them. This is true whether the students are told what gestures to make, or whether the gestures are spontaneous.

More about gestures:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327647jcd0702_4 (free)

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2007-16657-001 (not free)