Short term memory improvement technique

I recently found out that mneumonic techniques may not give much effect on real life scenarios(memorizing deck or numbers are not at all needed in this century).I have heard that boosting short term memory can have an effect on life(like: you can remember most of the things on the way you walked through last 5 minutes,you can remember a whole place as a photographic memory easily…).therefore,I felt like I need to increase short term memory instead of trying memory techniques like pao for number,decks,etc…
These are my questions:
1.what are the use of mneumonic techniques in real life?
2.can you give me some short term memory improvement techniques?
3.any good books about short term memory boosting?

Additional info:I have heard the above information from a psychology student and he says that it is always better increase short term memory instead of training your memory with certain skills which will not be applicable to most of the real life scenarios


You can use the same techniques (like memory palaces) for memorizing any kind of list. Have you seen the free e-booklet yet?


Yes I have seen it and I do know most of the techniques already

For me, memorizing numbers or a deck of cards is just for “memory-fitness”. I would have never been able to use memory techniques efficiently for work/studying without training with random words/numbers on Memory League. Memory techniques definitely had a great effect on my real-life-scenarios. I use them extensively for work and studying (especially law related things, where it’s often useful to know the §§/Articles and their contents in order to find the legislative basis faster for the matter at hand).

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by short-term memory improvement. Do you have an example of what use you’d make of it?

ya what do you mean by short term memory and please do provide a reference or a book name through which we can also improve our short term memory.

He suggested trying to memorise things when you see while walking etc…memorising a card and number only uses our predetermined images only…so I think this type of memory training is better,I don’t know about any books right now

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An average person can include 5-9 objects in short term memory,u need to train your brain if you want to increase number of objects to include in short term memory.i don’t really have a good idea of it,but it’s like:when you have a good short term and working memory you will be always using brain and storing things,for example you will try to find the number of steps in stairs, different types of things u see…etc.
Can you say what type of techniques do you u use in work related activities and studies?


See above

I use the memory palace technique combined with a number system (PAO 00-99, number shapes from 0-9).

For example, I memorized the Swiss Constitution by putting the information on a journey from my house to my workplace.

Here some specific examples from the Swiss Constitution:

Art. 21 is placed on a parking space: There’s B. A. Baracus (= 21 in my PAO system) painting (artistic expression) the statue of liberty (freedom)

Art. 22 is placed in front of the house to the right of the parking space: There’s Bugs Bunny (= 22) assembling/meeting with other rabbits.

These images are enough for me to remember what these Articles are about. I did this for all 197 Articles and I review them with spaced repetition to keep them in memory for a very long period of time.

Now, when I read a court decision or a legal document that refers to an Article of the Constitution, I know what that Article is about, I don’t have to look it up. I can also make connections between laws (I have other laws on other memory-journeys) in order to be able to look at a case/contract and see the context.

By training to memorize random words and numbers I have become much faster at coming up with images that “translate” the content of laws for me. The memory palace technique is (for me) the most powerful of all memory techniques, but it wouldn’t be as useful if I didn’t have a PAO to also remember the numbers of the Articles. A great range of memory techniques combined seems to be the best way to improve your memory in general.


I have already created a pao of 100.i just need to practice it… watch this from 6:25.
I think this has something to do with the short term memory I said before.(I think I mistaken short term memory with working memory)

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What I get from the things he’s saying there is simply: Focus. Pay attention to what you want to remember.

I don’t know the exact terminology and difference between “working memory” and “short-term memory”. But I think everything you want to remember for more than a few seconds, has to be put in long-term memory.

If I memorize random words on Memory League, I usually get around 40-45 words in 60 seconds. I only try to memorize the last 4 with my working memory in the last seconds (without creating images, just by looking at the words). If I don’t repeat these 4 words or if I get distracted, I will forget them. The rest of the words, the ones that were put in a memory-journey, will not be lost even after an hour or if I get distracted. By placing the words in a journey/palace, I help my brain to make a long-lasting memory.

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Thanks for the reply,
I think the psychology student I talked with was trying to imply that memorizing random digits can’t help to increase overall memory,since digits does only use preconfigured images to memorise.
-What is your opinion about this?
-how much do you think digit memorization help you the overall progress of your memory?
Now I also feel like,giving focus and remembering things on your life is also a skill like memorising words but it may be more effective in real life…

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Memorizing random digits is a very specific skill that might not be useful to everyone. But for me (especially for memorizing laws etc.) it’s very useful and it has definitely helped me with improving my memory-skills in general. I think the reason for that is, that memorizing digits with pre-made images still involves a lot of visualization, which is a crucial skill when it comes to memory. If you train to visualize a specific image (like the ones you have for the digits), you get better at it. If you train to visualize random, abstract words/information, you get better at that too. I think it’s best to train both in order to get efficient with memory techniques. I started with 10 minutes a day of practicing visualization in the beginning and with memorizing short lists like a shopping-list.

I think all memory training that involves visualization will improve your memory, no matter the content of what you memorize.

Focus is a skill that has to be trained, too. Using memory techniques has helped me a lot with being more focused when learning.


It actually sounds like your friend was referring to working memory. I can’t “quote” any studies off the top of my head, but I’ve read that it can play an even more important role in everyday memory. You’d have to look for some techniques to improve your working memory, but the two I know of off the top of my head would be the n-back test or getting really good at first-person shooter games (apparently this was shown in a memory/intelligence study as a positive factor). If someone else already brought this up I apologize for the redundancy. I hope this helps.

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I am a little confused by your question. All the things that you listed as not being applicable to real life scenarios are what you call short term memory boosters. Short term memory (0-30 seconds), intermediate term memory (30-120 seconds) and long term memory ( 2 minutes +…) are a function of the amount and kind of attention you give to the target memory experience.

Short term memory = just pay attention in the first place. That is it. That is all that is required to remember something for up to thirty seconds.

Intermediate memory = do something to transport the item from those physical parts of the brain where attention is managed to those parts of the brain where memory is invoked. Because the attention part of the brain has a limited amount of space and energy to deal with its function, it is selective in what it keeps for the maximum amount of time. Current thinking is that short term memory holds about two hundred constantly rotating bits of information and another four hundred are available for inspection at any given moment. There are management techniques available to consciously direct the transfer/conversion process.

Long term memory = do something to attach the newly loaded intermediate memory into the massive, physical connectome that constitutes what we call long term.

Just like there are physical exercises that will increase the size and capacity of your biceps, there are exercises that will increase a specific memory circuit in terms of the circuits physical characteristics and capacity.

If you load the intermediate memory into long term and just leave it there without some other factor involved it will start to degrade within hours. Some so called short term memory enhancers will by themselves allow the intermediate memory to disappear from its temporary long term position quickly. Some action needs to be done to prevent that from happening.

If you truly want to enhance the transport of intermediate memories into long term, the practices that you dismiss are the tools to do it. Card drills, number sequences etc are ways to improve and hone your ability to rapidly and reliably move memories to where you want them Those card remembering practice sessions are intended to load and retain the card order for only a very short period of time. No one intends to remember the card order for the next few years.

But if you can’t move that memory where you want with ease you will not be any good at long term memory. These memory champs are showing how much you can get control of the process. You can get so good it looks like a trick or magic to the uninitiated.

However, your psych student friend is correct. It is vital that you increase your actual short term memory. If you don’t pay attention in the first place to what it is that you were hoping to remember, it is impossible to do anything about remembering it. If you didn’t really pay attention to what someone’s name is, nothing will bring it back later. However, all the tricks to move memories around to your liking force you to pay attention in the short term interval. All those tricks say…after you have really paid attention, do this, or that, or that.

To list resources it is necessary to know what it is you really want. Somehow, I don’t think you are much interested in different meditation or yoga techniques which will result in improving your short term memory because they enhance your ability to be in the present and pay attention. Increasing your ability to be aware of yourself and your relation to your surroundings is probably the best real world application of your energy you could do. But few people are thinking about that sort of thing when trying to do what they call improving their memory.


I agree. I started meditating (very basic awareness meditation for like 10 minutes a day) a few weeks back and it has helped me a lot. Not sure if it’s some kind of “placebo-effect” but I really feel like it helped me improve my focus and I even got over plateaus in some memory disciplines on Memory League.

Most things we do in life require memory so I am not sure I can agree that memory techniques do not help in real life. I guess it depends on what people do but most careers from low level to high level require at least some memorization, not even including the board exams people have to take for most things in life.

If I were trying to improve short term Id probably use one memory location over and over and just rewrite stuff over it and not use it for things that require long term retention.

Basically anything that requires techniques to stick it into long term memory can help short term too. Memory champions memorizing decks of cards are essentially using some sort of short term memory since they only need to memorize the decks for the one event.
Short and long term memory are different but its really difficult to consider them mutually exclusive as in only improving one or the other…

If your friend is doing psychology I would say he is using his long term memory to get through school right?

Can you give us a specific example of what you are trying to improve memory for and we can probably point you in the right direction and also point out that long term memory is important for it. I can’t think of a single career that long term memory techniques would not make easier or at least make the training time to get to a proficient level much shorter than just “hoping this info sticks”

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Actually he completed psychology course and he is trying to read people’s mind like mentalist by body language etc…mentalists will be always focused on different parts of the body and the environment at the same time.By his practical knowledge he just claimed that memory can’t be increased much by just memorizing deck and numbers(we need to memorize random things ratherthan predetermined images).but I found that is not true from this forum
Answer to Ur question:I am trying improve memory just for becoming better in life (I think getting better at faces,names and numbers will be great…and I also need to get better focus)

The short term memory that I would like to improve is when I am unexpectedly interrupted for a couple of minutes during a casual conversation by someone talking about something completely different. When the person that interrupted us leaves, I can’t remember what we were originally talking about, whereas the person I’m with always can.This occurs when I am walking my dog and we will be talking about random topics. This is very frustrating for me and has nothing to do with me not focusing on our conversation.