Reusable pegs

(topic branched from Lean / Agile Memory Systems topic)

Edit: my glossary entry -
templated pegs – a well-known set of reusable traversable base images associated with a general theme capable of being merged with any other set of memory images of a more specific theme.
Synonyms: Extended peg, associated peg, template


An object template of a monument supplies several locations for general storage of historical figures. The name of the historical figure would be the statue itself, birth and death dates could be stored in the base of monument, and other important events would be scattered around the grounds of the monument. Use: Napoleon born 1769 in Corsica, died 1821 on the island of St. Helena off the coast of Angola = Napoleon fends off a lion with a pole in one hand and his other hand in his jacket as the image of the monument. He sits on top of the monument base of a puppy (dog) sailing a ship on an ocean of apple cores on one side. The other side has an old jewel thief using a wand to magically open a box which contains an angel holding out a statue of a mom carrying a cross with his two fingers. Below the mom is fiery flames of hell.

@moo, @nhtofa, I’m working on laying out the ground rules for templated pegs which involves proposing a hypothesis, finding examples to test it out, and then reviewing to see if it seems usable. This is an area I don’t have any references for, even though I’ve tried to search for them in multiple places. I’m getting closer though so will share some soon. I’ve seen some ideas on templates here, but just basic ideas. I am still practicing my compass template on various location pegs as well as the monument template for historical people.

But one thing that I see clearer is that alternate names for the templated peg would be a associated peg or an extended peg because the nature of the templated peg is to become a part of another piece of data. Templated pegs are a strong set of pegs that morph with a subject, item, or location to provide a relevant and unique set of pegs.

So my plan is to try number pegs on your suggestion of the Constitution by article and section (maybe the amendments should wait) morphing them with significant places in DC in general as a set of loci. If you have a journey or a palace for DC, that would help me. There aren’t that many articles and only a maximum of 10 sections so I could use an item or location peg set. But I want to remember the number of the article and section so I’ll try the number peg first.

And for your other suggestion of the elements, they would likely also associated with a template based on number pegs but not having had chemistry since high school, I’m not sure what is useful to memorize besides number and name. Maybe types or group and period with series name. I’ve seen the common usage of the element also. The number pegs, needed because of the range of the elements (103), would likely by morphed into a unique set of pegs by association with a some sort of locational set of pegs related to science. My basic technique is to review the number pegs for an option that seems scientific and seeing if a story develops out of the sequence. This is my bottom-up method of design.

For your last suggestion of math formulas, I fear I can’t do much there. There’s too much variation unless we confine ourselves to a particular area. I remember studying 20 or more ratios applicable to finance. Maybe I can find my notes on those. Don’t ask me to revisit trigonometry. Statistics somewhat interests me but I’d need a cheat sheet of formulas to work with. Any suggestions there?


Thanks for your suggestions and also for creating this as a sperate topic. Very helpful…

I was thinking about your templated pegs system. Mainly the characters, theme and subject actions on different locations.

I was wondering how would you use characters and themes in above mentioned situations.

It would be helpful if you clarify it by using example of US Constitution.


I decided to work with the Constitution because it was useful to know for me and had more application that the periodic table of elements. There were 27 amendments that seemed to be better to organize quickly than the articles and sections of the body of the Constitution because of the consistent short length.

# Amendment short description
1 Freedom of religion, speech, press, right to assemble.
2 Right to keep and bear arms.
3 Unlawful to quarter soldiers without permission.
4 Unlawful search and seizure, requires probable cause.
5 A major crime require action from a Grand Jury (also determines whether charges should be brought against a suspect) unless in wartime, no seizure.

In any memory system used for long-term recall, the first step is to organize your information well. I’m not familiar with legal terms and I’ll do the best I can to interpret it for some images to work with. I’d have to think much more about the articles since they have extensive text and different organization.

When using a templated peg system, the second step is to find a base peg system that matches up well by size and theme. It has to be a generic themed set of pegs that have an affinity to the specific sequence to be memorized.

The subject of our amendments is the Constitution, and a legal document, so a courtroom or a place where legal discussions are held would be appropriate. Within that terrain, the subjects will be made up of the specific subjects talked about in the amendments, notably, church people, media, protesters, citizens with guns, soldiers, law enforcement, criminals, and a jury. The subjects will do the actions that are associated with them. And any item that is relevant is fair game in a memory image.

I would have liked a better peg system, but familiarity with the template peg is essential and is likely one that you already used. My template peg was a compound peg system used for the book of Matthew in the form of a number pegged palace where each location has an associated number peg. It has the right length in that there are 28 locations. My palace theme was a university building for mathematics so might be applicable for any academic subject. The details of that palace except for the terrain, or loci, will be somewhat modified as the sequence of Constitutional amendments are merged giving it the flavor of a law school building. Here are the first five locations of the Matthew palace:

Chapter Chapter number peg Memory image for combined book and chapter peg
Matthew 1 entrance A youth is studying outside the large double wooden doors of an old school building.
Matthew 2 knee A person wearing knee pads shines the lobby floor.
Matthew 3 ma My ma has a job at the reception desk checking badges.
Matthew 4 air High ceiling fans moves air around causing students’ papers to fly up.
Matthew 5 aisle You walk down an aisle with math students chatting in between study pods.

The third step in the process would be to merge the two peg sequences. I try to keep as many of the base peg images as possible and morph them into the new images. Because of my limited knowledge of the law, I have to start simply. But as I understand and review the images, more an more detail can be added by extracting the keywords of the target information and translating them to images. If the image starts becoming too big, as some of the amendments do with subject matter on different topics, and you want to remember the gist of it all, you’ll have to create a little story for that one location.

Here’s the merged memory images for the base palace and the amendments:

Amendment Template peg Merged image
Freedom of religion, speech, press, right to assemble. A youth is studying outside the large double wooden doors of an old school building. A youth is studying his Bible outside a law building when protestors storm the front doors. Media show up and put it on TV. A large group of people listen to the protestor who is at the top of the marble stairs.
Right to keep and bear arms. A person wearing knee pads shines the lobby floor. To stop the protestors from entering, the guards have taken up positions in the lobby on their knees while aiming pistols toward the door.
Unlawful to quarter soldiers without permission. My ma has a job at the reception desk checking badges. Guards register with my mom at the front desk to see if while the protest is going on, they can get food and stay at offices in the law building.
Unlawful search and seizure, requires probable cause. High ceiling fans moves air around causing students’ papers to fly up. A protestor sneaks in through the doors but when the ceiling fan blows off his fake hair and hat disguise, he is grabbed, searched, and all his possessions taken. He keeps asking why.
A major crime require action from a Grand Jury (also determines whether charges should be brought against a suspect) unless in wartime, no seizure. You walk down an aisle with math students chatting in between study pods. The protestor is walked down an aisle of people sitting in cubicles who turn and give a thumbs up or down. Most give a thumbs down. A lawyer awaits the protestor at the end of the aisle.

You’ll notice that I’ve used the protestor as the protagonist in these first five locations that are inside the law building. It’s useful to follow one specific data type through a story at each background. This follows my Matthew background. Sometimes, it’s an item that connects the images. My next background in Matthew is the area for the students outside consisting of an ash (6) receptacle for smokers, IKEA (7) patio furniture, ivy (8) on the wall, and a scheduling app (9) on an outside monitor. I’ve found that the backgrounds, or connecting areas for the locations, are maxed out at around five or six different items.

I hope that has helped clarify my use a little. If you have any problems or would like some feedback, I’ll gladly help you.


Assuming you are going to memorise a book :open_book: and the storylines. Pegs for chapter can be a double-edged blade.

  • Templated pegs regularised your your thinking frame :framed_picture: . You always walked through a entrance :door:, then knee (some action?) and so on.

  • Sometimes the situation doesn’t suit the sentence or thesis statement of the chapter.
    Fortunately, it’s word discipline alike, training can increase your imagination with unrelated words.

About templated words, do u mean something like this? This template is from memory ladder.

So what I want to tell is that in words or sentences or even paragraph theme, un-limit your mind to a peg, or alternatively make at least with three variations. It helps you to create an interesting memory/story, it’s better than a dull formulation.

Off the track, I read Chinese memory masters books :books: more than English memory books :closed_book: .
袁文魁 ( the coach of Weng Feng at Feng’s beginning journey ) suggested that simple link is much effective than complex conjugate.

An example from his book.

It is about memorising the Chinese philosophy group. One person makes excellent details, every word is pegged to an image. He can remember the sentence, but the time cost is heavy, he needs to train every images he created. If we can simplify the whole sentence to a phrase or a clear image then it is what so called efficient.

I love reading your SEEIT method, and a gentle reminder. Albert Einstein :If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Treat your memory items as simple as possible, and tend to create an concrete image (not over detailed) to store it.:woozy_face::joy::+1:t2:

1 Like

@Antelex, thanks so much for your reply. I don’t want to take a word and peg it using any kind of peg system. That’s too much work.

And substitute words are hard work but sometimes necessary. I have a full list for Bible use because of how often they appear. It makes things consistent.

But the templated pegs may need a new name to make it easier to understand. You take a set of pegs that have been specially selected along a theme. Then you use them with more than one set of items to memorize that have an affinity to that theme. That allows for reuse.

I wish I could read Chinese!

1 Like

Good point, I think it’s more practical.

1 Like

I changed my name for this topic from templated pegs to adaptable pegs.

Templated pegs wasn’t working for me because it needed to convey two things. The first was a generally basic type of visual image that could be enhanced and probably was as you used it to solidify the meaning so that it could be reused and the final image was unique. The second is that all the pegs in the system (alphabetic fruit, numeric items, cities on a journey) had to be well known so that it had many options for merging the information to be learned into an image. In other words, it had to be very adaptable but not lose its “shape.”

So, I don’t know if I’m understanding this correctly.

So the way your pegs work, is they have some sort of theme which is associated, and that combines with a major system image. These pegs, once created, can be used again, for something else.

The whole idea is that if if you were to use major number pegs only, this would get monotonous and difficult to remember.

So I gather the theme for Matthew is people.

So it is something like:

Matthew + entrance + university = A youth is studying outside the large double wooden doors of an old school building.

and so forth. So the major image is fused with the theme and the background to create a peg.

This set of 28 can then be reused.

1 Like

You’re very close. The adaptable pegs are reused from Matthew (Math U) which is a university building (a palace). I chose it for it’s resemblance to a law school building and it’s length. I chose the number pegs for it so I could have a narrative throughout the pegs. Then it is fused with the constitution theme for a new set of images that are unique enough. Does that make sense to you better?

Yeah, that makes a lot more sense to me.


I’ve just started a book entitled “The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci.” Have you heard of him? In 1596, this Jesuit priest brought the ideas of the mnemonic palace to the Ming dynasty, through a prince in Nanchang. It was a misguided attempt at evangelism but brought many Western ideas to the literati in China.

I wondered if the roots of your Chinese masters could be traced back to him? And I do believe that the narrative, a simple link between images, is much more efficient than the peg system, which requires an external cuing and traversal structure of the pegs.

1 Like

I am grateful for your awareness “I read Chinese memory masters books.”.
But I didn’t hear about this story, yet it sounds interesting. Might be you can check the book’s reference, and hopefully, it has a citation or reference on the index page.

So, I’ve made yet another change to this style of pegs after working with it for some time. Templated pegs became adaptable pegs which are now just reusable pegs. I’ve also realized that there are many complex reusable rules as well but that is another topic.

I’ve come to believe that the adaptability is really just a way to reuse familiar peg lists that are well-known. And the main benefit is that you are able to reuse them multiple times. If anyone would like an example with a peg list they know and how to reuse it for another set of to-be-memorized information, I’m willing to give it a shot. You just have two criteria: similar themes and sufficient length of the reusable peg list for the new information.

1 Like