PAO action list

Does anyone have a list of actions? I have the P (Dominic) and the O (major system) but I do not have a list of actions. Could of course generate this myself but see no need to reinvent the wheel. Grateful for a list.

Hi drsleep8, welcome to the forum.

I think you are confusing the systems. PAO does not stand for Dominic, Action and Major.

PAO is a specific mnemonic system for numbers. PAO stands for Person, Action and Object where each number is assigned to a person which does a specific action with a specific object.

Like number 16 can be P - Cook, A - Cutting, O - Knife.

The Major system is another system where images are formed based on consonants. The various systems are detailed on the wiki link above.

So if someone supplies you with a list of action, it will be useless. The actions must be specific to your list of persons.

Thanks Yan, and thanks for the welcome, but I think you misunderstood my question. I know what PAO stands for. The way I accomplish the P part is through the Dominic system, and the way I do the O part is through the Major system, and that is why had these systems in parentheses.

For example 15 is ALbert Einstein in the Dominic system. and say the object is 250 or nails (using Major system).

I would rather not associate a particular action to the people in the Dominic system for example. I would rather instead code the gerund as well with the major system, thus the number 15-677-250 becomes Albert Einstein where here 677 stands for the gerund “choking” in the Major system.

So then “Albert Eistein choking on nails” because the image that I could associate with a locus.

So I was not sure if you guys were coding the verb too, but if not, you might as well. This is 8 digits you could attach to one locus. So I thought that maybe someone had already coded a bunch of verb gerunds to use for the middle A (PAO) part. Have I invented a new system?? If so I am not sure if one can come up with a gerund for all three digit combos, the main problem being that too many of them with end in 7, but there may be enugh verbs that have three consonants before getting to the ng (7) part to come up with a system.

Stalking could be 157 in major system.
Milking could be 357
clipping 759
Corrupting 749
blowing 95
beating 91
I think there may be only enough numbers in the major system to code the first two letters of the gerund as I analyze this more. That still gives 7 digits.

Worst case scenario one could code for only a two digit number from the gerund and ignore the last ng (7).

I get it now.

So for a list of 8 words, you are combining the first 2 in Dominic to give you a person, the next 3 in major to give you an action and the last 3 in major to give you an object. The action and object may or may not be related to the person.

I’ll just detail out my reasoning behind such a system. What you are trying to do is compounding 3 systems into one. In Dominic’s system, the action and person are intimately related because this speeds up memorization of the system and during recall, if you get only a feel of the action, you’ll immediately know what number it is.

With your system, you are learning 3 non related sets of 2100 images. I did thought of something similar but the speed of encoding the images and recalling them are greatly affected.

If you want to increase the number of digits you can attach to a locus, then you can use the system of World Memory Champion Andi Bell, where he created PAO for 1000 numbers from 000 - 999. With this system, you can attach 9 digits easily to a locus.

Thanks again for discussing this with me. Till now I have been in an isolated mnemonics world of my own for about 30 years. I got up at 8:27 this AM and remarked to my wife that this was a “finicky” time to get up. I got the usual strange look.

“So for a list of 8 words, you are combining the first 2 in Dominic to give you a person, the next 3 in major to give you an action and the last 3 in major to give you an object. The action and object may or may not be related to the person.”

I think that the fact that the verb is not already related to the Dominic person is an advantage, rather than a disadvantage. When I learned DOminic system I did not associate an attached verb on purpose. It would have been too logical and therefore not memorable. I would rather have the actors do things out of character as Eistein writing on a blackboard is too mundane. Whereas if he is choking on nails as in my previous example, I think that is much more memorable. Specifically it reduces interference. I am a physician but I studied mnemonic techniques in college earlier and had a thesis related to it. I was really theoretically interested in how they worked so well and it seemed that reducing interference was the main way.

My thinking is that if you got a verb in your image you might as well code it and get at least two more digits. Einstein choking on nails is really just one image that decodes to the 8 digit number. It’s really not three images as I came up with it instantly. If one knows one’s major and one’s dominic systems well it should take little time to code such an image-estimate 4-5 seconds at most.

I will check out Bell’s system. It may have been Pridmore’s that I looked at. I still think I may not be fully understanding it. PAO- Person acts on an object, but the only thing you code into numbers is the person and the object?? Seems wasteful to not code a verb that is part of one’s image anyway-integral to the image really. Of course I am not a competive memorizer like I figure most folks on this site are. Indeed I only use mnemonics for practical things really, other than the rare showing off to family members. So maybe there is something I am still missing that folks who memorize 200 or more random numbers understand and I don’t. I guess I could try it both ways, i.e., my variation versus traditional PAO and see which works best for me. But I guess I would have to go back and associate a mundane action to each of my Dominic characters for it to be a fair test.

Hi Dr Sleep, Glad to see another person from the medical profession. I am a medical student and an aspiring mental athlete.

Most of the persons on this site are people looking for practical purposes of the art of memory. We do have the USA Memory Champion 2011, Nelson Dellis, occasionally show up on the site to share his techniques with us.

I think you got the Dominic and the PAO system wrong. They do have a part for the verb.

Let’s try an example.

15 - P - Albert Einstein, A - Writing on Blackboard, O - Chalk
54 - P - Michael Jackson, A - Moonwalking, O - White Glove
76 - P - Tiger Woods - A - Swinging his club, O - Golf Ball

Now let’s say you want to memorize the following number 15 54 76.

So for your image, the 15 will give you the person, Albert Einstein. The 54 will give you the Action, Moonwalking. THe 76 will give you the object Golfball.

So the image will be Einstein, moonwalking on a giant golfball.

This is a very memorable image and it will take you less than 4, 5 s to create the images because the associations are logical and you are using one system only to create the images.

Now if you want to increase the number of digits on a locus point, you can increase the digits from 00 - 99 to 000 - 999 with a set of 1000 images.

The fact that the PAO of a digit is related is an advantage because it helps you save precious seconds during the encoding and recall process and these are valuable during competitions.

That helps me understand how you use it, but like I say I did not already memorize the mundane actions of my characters, only the characters’ faces.

15 - P - Albert Einstein, A - Writing on Blackboard, O - Chalk
54 - P - Michael Jackson, A - Moonwalking, O - White Glove
76 - P - Tiger Woods - A - Swinging his club, O - Golf Ball

So for me 15-54-76 would be Albert Einstein and 54 would be “leering” (54 in major system) at female students while outside the classroom holding some cash (76 on the Major system). (Forgive me but as you known mnemonics cannot be politically correct.)

Either way one does it one has still combined three images into one, so both should be equally easy it would seem. You would combine AE, Moonwalking, and golf ball, but I would combine Albert Einstein, leering, and cash. I think once I had my verbs figured out, mine would still be combining three images into one like the one you use. I realize this is just one example, but to me mine is more memorable than the one you use. I could use the one you use if I had already memorized actions for my characters. Using the system you use, I would be afraid that it would make me think of too many people, first AE, then MJ’s moonwalk, then Tiger Woods’ gold ball. I think this would distract me. With the system I am talking about I only have to think of one person. Incidentally I am not very good at learning names and faces, and of course am working on it through mnemonics. So maybe that is why I do not like the system you use. I am sure that if one uses it a lot however, that one would largely forget about the second person and just go straight to moonwalking, and then not realy think about Tiger Woods before going straight to his golf ball. Your system has analgous units, tens, hundreds almost.

But thanks for clarifying as I do now see how your characteristic actions of your characters get mixed up to get the bizarre and different actions, and thus reduce interference. At this point though I think I will experiment with making more number codes for verbs and memorize at least 100 of these. It will be interesting to see if there are enough of them. I do not think I will have much trouble with finding enough. I would rather do that than go back and memorize a characteristic action of each Dominic character. One other thing is that it appears you would only have 6 digits at your locus. With some verbs with three consonants I could have 7 at many using the major system. I would rather use one person to come up with a coded action, then a coded object. Too many people make me nervous. Think about,I usually see one person at a time in my practice. If I added one more person to a locus in the way I have described, I could have 12-14 digits at each site, if I added the bizzare activites of three folks I could have 24-28 digits at each site with only three images to decode for the numbers. I should mention that I have three digit words for the object, so with just one person I could use 7-8 digits depending on the consonants in the verb. I am new enough to PAO to think outside the box and possibly reegineer it. But this may sound funny to you proportionate to how much time you have already invested in the PAO that you descibe-the standard one. Since I memorized Dominic characters atypically, things look a little different to me, though I do like the basic premise of Person-action-object because this easily makes one image with your PAO or mine.

I am a little more interested in designing mnemonic techniques. For example I have been working for years on how to improve the major system to be able to make more words say for four digit numbers. One image per four digits would be nice, wouldn’t it? I think this is basically a programming problem. One needs to have a program to try all possible letter-numeral combinations. Feeding this would be a large list of concrete words. THe permutation that made the most possible words would be the best system. Would not have to be phonetic. I note that one system the GIordano system seems to code three digits easer than the major system, though I am already too invested in the Major system as it is.

I have only been studying memory systems and trying to come up with one of my own since July 2010. So I don’t have much expertise in the subject. I don’t use a PAO system. I’m still testing the different systems out there.

But most people who won memory competitions use the PAO system, including 8 times World Champion Dominic O’Brien, Andi Bell, Dr Gunther Karsten, Clemens Mayer and USA Champions like Ron White and Nelson Dellis. So there must be something right to it.

Now I don’t mean to say that your system is not right for competitions. With training, anything is possible. But the difference with a logical approach like P A O and yours is that you are not using a single system but two systems to create 3 non related set of images.

The time taken for you to convert the first 2 digits into persons, the next 3 digits into actions and the 3 digits after that into objects and creating memorable images with them, someone trained into PAO can easily convert 3 times the number of digits into images.

Let’s say you take 4s to create an image for 8 digits using your system, a trained memorizer on average can convert 12 digits into 2 images using PAO in 4s. Most competitive memorizers take less time than that.

Now you will also have to take into consideration that there is no link between your P, A and O images. So you’ll have to train far more to become familiar with your images and create interactions between them.

I’ve noticed when training that creating images are easy once you are familiar with your system. But it is the interaction between the different images which are difficult.

Like Einstein moonwalking is far more memorable than MJ swinging a club.

If you just want to use mnemonics just for the fun of it or to impress family and friends, then your system will surely work fine.

But in competitions where there are other factors like time, speed, recall, other systems work best, although like I said, with sufficient training, anything is possible.

As for phonetic encoding of 4 digits number, I have never attempted it. Some competitors use Consonant ©, Vowel (V), C, V to create sounds for 4 digits. But I don’t know of anyone using Major on 4 digit numbers.

I’ve never been one to put much belief in “coincidence”, but my jaw dropped when I read the initial post in this thread as I’ve been toying with the EXACT same modified PAO concept, where Person and Object used the Dominic system and Action used the Major system.

I’m a recent convert to Dominic system and I find a Person/Object metaphor very useful, I’m trying to make better use of a generic “Action”, but found considerable overlap: for example I’m using 02 (OB) - OBi-wan Kenobi swinging a lightsaber, but also 16 (AS) Arnold Schwarzenegger (Conan the Barbarian) swinging a broadsword.

In any event, I’m following this discussion with rapt interest.

My system takes about 4 seconds too (for one image of 7-8 digits), but that is because I know both systems, DOminic and major, like the back of my hands. Every time I see a two digit number I think of the person (Dominic) and the object (Major.) So I agree if one wanted to teach a new student of mnemonics one system or the other,it would be easier to just teach them the Dominic system first, then the PAO as this would require less investment initially. I am thinking maybe you never learned the Major system?
No shame, other than being able to go beyond 2 digits chunking, it has no real advantages over the DOminic system. BUt I am 56 and there was no DOminic system when I got started on mnemonics as a bored teenager with too much time on his hands.

In my opinion, the action and object often blend and it defeats the purpose. Look at PA-using Dominic O’Brien’s 5-minute numbers 11 years ago (316) versus the PAO-using U.S. Champ in 2011 (248).

Or look at Wang Feng (480) who simply uses the major system. I think Feng has shown that simplicity and drilling is the way to go, not more complexity.

Btw, there is a top German competitor that uses PO. I thought about adopting this as it is more concrete IMO. For me, it is hard to form good images of actions, or rather, 100 of them.

When I was thinking up actions, I did have a few goods one (e.g., juggling with bright, multi-colored balls) but not enough good vivid ones.

Thanks for your comments Chris. I am not surprised that you were thinking along similar lines.

I will let you know if I come up with a good set of Major coding for verbs-gerunds to be precise.
So basically I am talking about

Person- then action (unrelated to character’s mudane actions)- and object.

I think if you use the standard verbs from Dominic, that they are too mundane to be memorable. But I admit that the admixture of normal mudane verbs for a character being applied to another character’s action can produce the same bizzare effect, that I am talking about in my PAO version. I do think that bizarreness reduces interference even though the researchers have not been able to prove this in their more limited volume of information studies.

I do think that only folks who know the Dominic and the Major systems real well are going to want to play my game though.

But it seems real easy to me: 56 Edward Scissor hands (Dominic System)
847 forking (Major system)
757 clock (Major system)
thus, 56-847-757
P A O
So now I have one image of Edward with a fork on one hand instead of a scissor picking up a clock that he makes a hole through with the fork when he picks it up. That really combines well into one image that I could then hook to whatever locus it happens to come on. I think that took me 2.5 seconds to come up with that image when I saw these numbers earlier today. In this example I have used one image to code 8 digits. I will go on the internet and get a list of verbs to see if I can get the full variety of numbers in the Major system though; that might be a challenge. (I do already have a list of 1800 Spanish verbs with their English equivalents beside them so that might be the best place to start.) There could be some gaps, much as there are in the regular Major system when one tries to code three digits. Worst case scenario, the middle sequence of digits might have to be 2 in number rather than 3, and thus I would only have 7 digits I could code per locus. (Note that if I could stand to involve two people in my one locus I could store 14-16 digits at that one locus.) But even though the Major system is difficult at 3 digits, I have learned a regular word for all three digit combos in the major system real well, even though, as most of you know, to do this one has to stretch things a bit here and there. Major system works best for just two digits. That GMS system in my early experiments seems to work better for 3 digits than does the Major, but the GMS does not work as well with two digit numbers as it does with three digit numbers. Certainly I would not want to get as complex as using three different number: letter systems in my locus, unless of course I already knew the GMS as well as I knew the other two. But I don’t, so for me it is just two systems.

As someone else said though, I do agree that the practice is more important than which system or combinations of systems one uses. Though I do think it would be hard to store digits of this length with the old number-shape system. It does not surprise me to know that a person could win the championship or have a great score from just using Major and Loci either. If you practice it enough, it becomes second nature.

We cannot compare numbers on my fledgling system since no one has apparently tried it before. I have only tried it a few dozen times myself, but the criticism that is slower I think is in the eye of the beholder. And how complex it seems is also in the eye of the beholder. After all, the very essence of a mnemonic is to make the complex simpler. If one knows Dominic and Major really well, it seems natural to use both rather than just Dominic, since the two systems can serve as place holders, I would say that if one knows Dominic better than major or does not know Major at all, that it would be better to use traditional PAO system as Yan graphically explained to me.
(By the way thanks Yan as your diagram finally made me understand it.)

I do think if your memory for people is good you might prefer the PAO system in the traditional sense. My memory for people is not that great, so I would like to have only one person per locus from Dominic, though I might one day be able to stretch it to two people as I described above.

Anyway thanks guys, as I do enjoy talking theoretically on these issues. You’ll never see me at any memory championships, at least not as a competitor. I do have one question however to the group from a theoretical point of view. I probably would not have to ask this had I been making a habit of memorizing things as quickly as one would get if one were preparing for a contest. But in every day life even as a physician I do not have to memorize much (as Yan can tell you medical school is a bit different). I do it a lot though just for the fun of it. But my question is this, what about interference? I would think that with all that practicing before a contest there could be a lot of what we call proactive inhibition where the stuff you learned earlier on the loci interferes with recall of things you hook on there later. Is this why contestants to the memory championship quit practicing for a few weeks before the contest? to give those old memories time to fade?

I got much of my long term lists stored in sort of a Mini Dewey Decimal system. For example I have the 900 series which is history, geography, biography. The Amendments to the constition, data on presidents etc. and other things are in the 900s. In this way I know where to go looking for certain long term stored data. But I am reluctant to reuse those pegs other than by a process of elaboration, through the decimal system. I am afraid if I reused them it might wipe some of my long term stored cherished data. It would seem the practical long term memorizer might have a different perspective on this than folks who want to learn quickly and then forget after the contest. If my 900 pegs get too full and the decimal part of the system gets to full, I might could spine off loci from the pegs somehow. I am on vacation this week and that is why I am so verbose.

I have never tried the GMS system. I’ll try to look it up.

If you are at ease with both Dominic and the Major system, then I guess it is ok to use both.

I have different journeys for the same events and I alternate between them to avoid ghost images.

GMS has been talked about on other memory sites. It is not thought of highly by people in the mnemonics/memory sports circle and its techniques are not adopted by memory competitors. It uses it’s own counter-intuitive major-like system and throws together obfuscatory techniques to memorize certain subjects.

I have immediate and strong suspicion of any memory course or system that charges money (in the case of GMS, hundreds of dollars). From what I can gather from other memory forums and discussions, GMS is the Scientology of memory systems. Why not stick with established and proven systems which can be found on the internet or books?

Yeah I agree with Dan that there are no particular advantages to GMS except that it made more 3 digit numbers into words than the major system. Keep in mind that I known the major system better but was still able to code more three digits into words than with the major. But like I said it is worse with the two digit numbers than is the Major. However the major does better at four digits I think, though I have not yet formally tested it. They have a course that costs some money, but the actual manual is free. It has some good ideas but nothing new, and has a few wild ideas about how the author thinks the mind works. But I certainly would not pay for it. All on this forum probably have more expertise in this area than the course or manual would convey.

By the way I have produced a pretty good Major related verb list. Need to convert all the verbs to gerunds first, but if anyone is interested, I can send it. Don’t know how to do direct upload to this forum.

You can post it on the wiki page.

Very interesting… I started with the Dominic System (PA), and then started experimenting with the Major System. Before I heard about PAO, I started adding an object to the end of the Dominic System using the Major System. It seemed like a natural progression.

I abandoned that experiment, because I found that I was confusing the phonetics. Even now, I still have some “ghost” problems where I occasionally and accidentally convert a “9” into the letter “n” instead of a “p” (in my modified Major System).

For competition, I would choose only one method of converting the digits into letters, though for personal use it probably doesn’t matter.

One other way to do it would be like in the Ben System where 3 objects/persons are placed in each locus without set actions. The order of the images is preserved by their location or behavior. I organize it something like this, depending on the specific image:

  • Top to bottom or left to right
  • object performs action on another object
  • object contains another object

One of my previously mentioned examples is 074079092: the Egyptian god, Seth (074), pilots a zeppelin (079) which is anchored to a sunflower (092). Seth is inside the zeppelin, but he is piloting it (performing-an-action-on), so he appears first. The sunflower is below the zeppelin, so it is last.

There are no set actions, but each image starts acquiring certain behaviors. The image that follows the Ark (47) is typically inside the Ark. The axe (70) is typically being wielded by the image that comes before.

By the way, I forgot to mention that there is already an outline for a place to add ideas for actions in a PAO system:
https://artofmemory.com/wiki/Person-Action-Object_(PAO)_System#Ideas_for_Generating_Actions

I think a list of a few hundred sample actions would be very useful.

hey everybody, im not really sure where to post this question but…

for the PAO system, if i want to remember a number thats only 4 numbers long, lets say 5469, how would i go about doing that? would i use the the PAO i assigned for 55 and remember that and then remember the one for 69 separately? or would i try to combine them? thanks!