I am new to memory and would like to know what technique I should start with learning. I was thinking of learning memory palaces. Is there some other technique I should start with first?
The short answer: Yes. Starting with a memory palace is like learning to swim by jumping off Victoria Falls. To get the most out of using a memory palace, you’ll want to be comfortable with a number of other techniques first. After all, what are you actually storing in this memory palace? You need to start by learning how to create memorable images associated with the information you’re wanting to learn.
I would recommend, first, that you read the PDF guide available through the “Resources” tab here. No matter how much it gets mentioned, it still tends to get overlooked or brushed aside, and it really is a terrific introduction to memory techniques.
My personal recommendation—and others here may disagree with this approach—is that you start by learning the Linking method. It’s the most basic way of chaining information together in a memorable way. Plus, I think the process of creatively and imaginatively linking items together is going to be an important skill to learn, since it’s going to play a part in every other memory technique that will come after.
You could move to memory palaces once you’ve learned the Linking method; you’d have a handle on the most fundamental, basic skill. But note that you won’t be prepared to remember anything involving numbers (dates, sizes, equations, etc.) with just this approach. And there’s so much more that could really strengthen the efficacy of a memory palace.
Thank you for your advice.
Check out the free ebook and the resources on the how to learn memory techniques page. The ebook starts out with the linking technique that RMBittner mentioned and goes on the memory palaces/journeys after that.
I think,this is a great advice. I learned it the hard way that “Linking” is a very important thing that all mnemonists should know/learn at the beginning of his/her journey…
Being a general failure with most memory techniques. I can using journey, linking, pegs with about equal success and the associated failure that comes when you stop doing daily practice.
I can’t remember how many times I have tried different methods but not actually gotten to the point of integrating them into my daily practice. I believe the only skill that I have managed to keep is typing over the last 50 years is typing. Not a proud moment. lol.
I suspect there is no best and you have to pick the one you like and invest in it.
I don’t want to diminish the specific challenges anyone might have when it comes to learning anything, memory included. And it may be true that there is no general, overarching “best” system for memory. But I do believe—strongly—that there are techniques that are “best” for certain kinds of information, just like certain tools lend themselves to certain work.
If you pick only one memory technique to invest in, I think you’re going to be creating challenges for yourself in the long run. Sure, if you have a screwdriver, you can work with screws easily. When you come across a nail, you can adapt by just turning that tool around and pounding. But if you need to remove a nut, you’ll be helpless.
If you’re memorizing pi, you can, of course, do that with a shape/rhyming system for the numbers 0-9. But you will end up with a lot of images and the likelihood of a lot of confusion. For numbers, the Major or Dominic system is a better tool. If you need to store a lot of information, with the option of adding additional information over time, a memory palace/location-based approach may be a much better tool than the Linking method.
If someone wants to be able to memorize anything of interest that they encounter, I think they’re going to need at least a basic understanding of several techniques. Otherwise, they’re making it harder on themselves to accomplish the very thing they want to do.
do i have to learn shape/rhyming system or the Major or Dominic system is enough
You should learn both ‘shape/rhyme’ system and ‘Major/Dominic’ system!!!
Any ‘shape/rhyme’ system is very very easy to learn! It should not take you more than ten minutes to learn shape/rhyme system by using a Memory Palace. And once learned,you can use them in many different circumstances,even combining with Major/Dominic System!
I’ll agree with elitely here, and I’d also stress that shapes/rhymes are very very easy to pick up. You may rarely need them, but they can be handy when a system like Major/Dominic is just too much for a simple task. I’ve also found it can be helpful to mix up systems together; some might find my approach confusing, but I mostly use rhyme associations for 0-10—with a couple of shape associations thrown in—and then mostly Major from 11-99. (I also have a separate Major list of people that gives me 00-99.) Sometimes the system I use depends on my mood, what might fit the image in my head better, etc., etc.
Of course, though, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
thanks for your replies