People as Loci Generators

Hello all,

There has been a bit of discussion lately. Here, here and here, as a result of this article(use google translate if you need to). The subject is using people as loci generators, putting 20 or more loci on a person, and placing those people in memory palaces to exponentially increase the amount of loci you have. I want to know what your thoughts on this are, and if anyone tried this, please contribute.

I can’t visualize people that well, especially not the features mentioned in those posts, such as ankles, knees, etc. But I think if I tried to view them from around a meter away, focusing on the big picture, as in, seeing the whole person, while at the same time something is happening to specific body parts, that might work. As in, even when I focus on placing something on their foot, I still see the rest of their body in my peripheral vision.

And here is what I think would be the points of focus: Toes, ankle, shin, knee, groin, stomach, pectoral, hand, lower arm, upper arm, shoulder, neck, chin/teeth, eyes, hair. Thats 15, you could always try doubling it by dividing the body into left and right sides. Or even viewing the body from the back, but for me, the distinguishing feature inbetween people is usually the face.

Thoughts? Ideas? Questions?


Comeon people, this is highly pertinent to mnemonics!

Is there any forum rules about bumping?


It is an interesting topic and I read the other threads previously myself with interest.

Just some comments:

  1. I have never really found it that easy to even use my own body, compared to a real or even imaginary palace or journey - it is a question of scale really.

  2. But, your point about zooming in and out is a good one, that I remember discussing with Gary Lanier in another thread.

  3. Then I concluded that the best approach might be to treat the whole body as a ‘room’ and walk around it as a tiny person, thus dealing with my previous scale issues. Can’t say I have tried it though.

  4. The other issue then becomes distinguishing one body from another if you are going to use this as a system.

I can envisage being able to differentiate between Adolf Hitler’s knee versus Bo Derek’s knee (!) at least at first, but to reliably distinguish a hundred of these over even a medium term seems like quite hard work and a real challenge for the imagination.

The article suggest separating by categories, so having folks with different uniforms might help.

As might introducing other memory hooks such as grouping ‘similar’ people in separate ‘rooms’ of your palace.

As ever colour and other attributes could assist as well.

Personal take: I think there are better options out there.


  1. I have used my own body to memorize vocabulary from a different language, specifically that referring to body parts. It works pretty well for that.
  2. I have thought of imagining something like a gigantic skeleton and then attaching images to each bone to memorize them, and same thing with muscles, but seems like theres a lot of extra memorization for that.
  3. Looking at the whole body in peripheral vision would be my solution.

Good point about uniforms. There are people (mostly superheros) that are easily distinguished from each other. King kong, the hulk, iron man etc.

Thanks for your contribution Gavino

Sorry, my english is very bad, I will write in spanish, ok?

Una forma de recordar mejor lo que asociamos a cada parte del cuerpo es imaginar a esta persona viviendo una aventura en la que, primero, le sucede algo relacionado con el pie, después le pasa algo con el tobillo, luego con la rodilla, etc.

Por ejemplo, al salir de casa ha tropezado con X y se ha lastimado el pie; después el viento ha hecho que Y se le enredara en el tobillo y casi se cae; luego se ha golpeado la rodilla con Z…

La imagen que ponemos en el palacio de la memoria es la imagen de esta persona con las huellas de la aventura vivida (pie magullado por X, tobillo enredado con Y, rodilla hinchada al golpearse con Z, etc.)

De esta forma introducimos en las imágenes un elemento importante: la acción, movimiento, que ayudará a recordar mejor.

Translation for anyone who doesn’t speak spanish:

A better way to remember what we associate with each body part is to imagine this person in an adventure in which, first, something happens related to the foot, then something happens with the ankle, then knee, etc…

For example, when leaving home X tripped and hurt his foot, then the wind has made and is entangled in the ankle and almost fell, then hit the knee with Z …

The picture put in the memory palace is the image of customized traces of lived adventure (X bruised foot, ankle tangled with Y, swollen knee when struck with Z, etc.).

Thus we introduce in the images an important element: action, movement, help you remember better.

I agree, a story helps, similar to Ben’s system for cards. You combine both location and linking to create a stronger association.

Thanks, Bateman, for the translation.

People as Loci Generators: examples of illustrations of old books.
(font: web of San Marino university, Italy)

This thread reminds me when I read a blog post of Gary Lanier: Memorizing 2 Decks around 1 Person and also Jeff’s PAO strategy for credit cards: “just use the card itself as a memory palace”.

By that time, I had no more than 10 loci to practice, and I thought it would be interesting to use my own body as a memory palace.

So I enumerated 26+26 (symmetrical), 13 central loci = 65 discrete body points to use for memorization (multiple of 13, because 4 cards/images per locus still a dream).

I was also wondering if I could use as many people I know… because it is not obvious how to distinguishing one body from another (as Gavino pointed here).

Thanks, Yo for the examples of associating each body part using the person in some story. That helped me to put some ideas together :slight_smile:

I quite like using people for quick and short memory. I actually find that it is much easier to memorize things on the hands, ankles, legs, etc than on the face. I tend to just put 1 thing on the face. Faces are certainly more distinct, but only if you’re originally picturing nude people haha. Most of the people I use have distinct clothing, so that makes it much easier to “hook” than a slightly different nose shape or eye color. When I memo with people I usually do 1 image on: foot, knee, crotch/groin/hips, (sometimes) stomach, chest, elbow, hand, head. That’s only 7 (or 8) images, but if I were to do that for each of my 00-99 Ps, that’d be 800 loci. And just as an example to demonstrate the distinct differences between outfits and etc, here are some of my (current) Ps:
00: 5012708-high-doctor-who.jpeg
11: 4043310-high-doctor-who-series-7b.jpg
22: 550w_doctor_who_end_of_04.jpg
33: padme_white_promo12.jpg
44: 3448649-2382786-general_grievous.jpg
55: boromir18.jpg
66: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT11a9naDzYzdBqA6n_z8rHYG_Qb1IZSSw0azKqs0QgDw7-mPkD
77: bad5ae0624b92872bfa1473757fb2a8c.jpg
88: 144031_1227360944426_full.jpg
99: panda.jpg

Here’s one of my favorite ones to use (not gonna lie):
36: LMB.png

It takes some practice. I think I could probably incorporate more loci in each person, but this works for me for now.

I can’t. Say what you well about his ideology but the man had a sexy knee, and that’s that.

Agreed. Every option you can think of, for instance.

I’ve done this a lot with foreign language vocabulary. Here’s how:

I make an imaginary bookcase in a particular room. On it are several figures in alphabetical order (three per shelf on a three shelf bookcase). For example, going from left to right on the top shelf:

Top shelf:

Chuck Norris

Middle shelf:


Bottom Shelf:

Iron Man

Each of these “bodies” has 10 stations in a logical order from top to bottom.

Easy, effective, elegant and fun.

Metivier, could you explain more?

Does the language have any connection with the people? Or is it just a series of loci so you can review?

What are the 10 stations that you find work best?

I also notices that they are arranged alphabetically, a-z with one for each letter. Do you only have one shelf? Or is there more?


There is no explicit relationship between these figures and the language, though it would be a good idea for someone using this technique to use figures from that culture further on down the road. But as you know, the real magic of mnemonics comes from drawing upon things with which you are already deeply familiar, so instead of memorizing the details of, say, French super heroes, you can get started a lot quicker by using heroes (or actors, etc) from your own culture.

All stations work equally well. If they didn’t, they’d be replaced with ones that do.

In my method - the Magnetic Memory Method - nearly everything is arranged alphabetically because the alphabet is a natural “what comes next?” guide. You never have to think very hard about what comes next because if the forward movement of the journey fails you, the alphabet is your second chance to move forward (or vice versa). In principle, the alphabetic is a guardrail you can place your hand upon as you walk the Memory Palace journey beneath your feet.

If you’re interested in more about my particular approach to mnemonics, I suggest that you peep into my profile, visit my website and sign up for my daily newsletter. I talk about stuff like this all the time.

Thanks for your interest!

Thanks metivier, I signed up.

Offtopic: Has anyone else been experiencing problems with the site? Particularly the main page,

Yes, it returned a server error several times yesterday.

Sorry, I just saw this message now. There were some server problems, but they should be fixed now. If you’re still seeing problems, let me know and I’ll look into it. :slight_smile: