The New Memorization Technique used by North Korean Team

Hi there, hope you’re well!

I was doing some research on the new technique the North Korean team claimed to use at the WMC 2019.

Apparently, they say that they involve all senses in memorization as well.

I came across Quantum Speed Reading…

Then was researching on how to memorize with all 5 senses.

Thought I’d share with you, I’m happy to share any useful information I come across. Do you know of any such method that includes senses while memorization?

Kind Regards!


When you use memory techniques, you are suppose to use all your senses. But the majority of people just use their visual sense when creating images and stories. I know I use sound a bit for specific images I am memorizing. I think we don’t have any new memory techniques at this time but more of refining memory systems since the foundation of memory techniques is imagination.


I don’t particularly know of a known method that includes senses, but I can include my other senses through visualisation. I imagine it’s possible to train by introducing scents or tastes or textures directly, rather than visualising them.

It would be interesting to know whether this is by alternating senses or whether it is by using all senses per piece of information.

Quantum speed reading… Basically ESP or guessing, I can’t comment on personally.

If using all senses is vastly superior then the North Korean team should have a score of atleast double of everyone who is not using all senses for the same level of experience. If this isn’t the case then it’s benefit is not too significant.


If using all senses is vastly superior then the North Korean team should have a score of atleast double of everyone who is not using all senses.

I’m going to assume you made that up, and not for any reason. The sentiment makes me cringe when I look back on what work I’ve done because I thought that maybe it could improve my score by a couple percent with enough work.
Perhaps we should be satisfied with statistical significance.


I didn’t make this up but had very simple reasoning:

If you are using 2 or 1 of your ‘senses’ and someone is using 5 ‘senses’. If the person using 5 senses is not outperforming you by at-least double despite using more than double the senses, then the effect of doubling senses isn’t doubling output or more, at least for their method.
I mean sure it doesn’t mean that you are not going to experience a significant ‘gain’ but my

is implying not double or more, by doubling the count of ‘senses’ used. That is however the extent of my reason on this and ‘using all senses’ was still more referring to the context of the new technique the North Korean team claimed to use at the WMC. If for whatever reason they weren’t going the right way with using their ‘all their senses’ and there is a better way to do this, then this isn’t exactly true.


I don’t think that reasoning holds up at all. Would you expect someone who plays tennis with two hands to be twice as good as someone who plays with one hand?

Clearly, the senses are not equal (the visual sense is by far the most developed), and even if they were, I wouldn’t expect a linear relationship between the number of senses used and performance.


This question isn’t so much a yes for me since when playing tennis you can use 2 hands on one racket and do a lot of other things that may take your entire body. You also have an increased load from having to coordinate 2 rackets. If you did not mean racket but you meant 2 hands as is, then this is also not so much a yes because using 2 hands can restrict some of the hits you are making in time. It’s not the same as simply increasing your stats by double. Even if you do increase your stats to double, in a competition between other people in this case tennis, being double whatever in stats you were before is different than having double in score. You still abide and transfer to the rules of the sport.

There is quite a lot of ambiguity in this so let me start off by saying that this isn’t my opinion, I am far more in support of the opinion that multiple senses are beneficial, I am also more in support of the fact that these are not linear.

The way I stated this is conditional. If its not the case then its not true, if it is the case then it is true.

Let me put it this way, if the senses are not equal what would happen to my statement? Nothing, because it would mean they are not equal, does it provide a increase of around double combined? Yes? In that case it is too significant. No? In that case it is not too significant taking ‘too significant’ to imply double or more as it is an ambiguous statement with no clear definition in quantity. Assuming there isn’t a linear relationship between them does this change anything? No, because it doesn’t really matter the point is if its double or more (more than double or equal to) from 2 to 5 in order for it to be in this context too significant. I’ve also added that this of course doesn’t apply if whoever is using ‘2’ or ‘5’ is not doing so to the comparable extent, this is why I implied of the same level of experience (of course same technique too).

My original statement :

if (vastly superior) then
the score should be ≥ double of person not using all senses.
Provided they are of the same experience.

If False, not too significant.

vastly superior = “score of person using all senses ≥ double of person not using all senses.”
not too significant = “score of person using all senses < double of person not using all senses.”
same level of experience = “Same method, one person should have as much mastery of using 5 senses
as the other has of using 2 senses”
“=” implying approximately equal

Why the same method? Because having the same level of experience is a mythical thing that is very difficult to truly measure. It is not the same as having the same hours put in, but is supposed to imply if person A uses the same method as person B they should have the same score if at the same level of experience(this includes individual development,illness etc).
This implies that in this context there someone is as skilled at using 2 senses as another is in using 5 senses. Not that they have the same output.

The real loopholes of sorts here is when someone is using 4 senses rather than all senses and if all senses includes things like the sense of balance and more (more than the typical 5) or even how they use ‘all their senses’, but I didn’t try to make this particularly critical.

In the first place, I was referring to their technique not all senses in the generality of it.

When you say

I don’t assume you mean that all reasoning doesn’t hold up at all, but I assume you mean the reasoning you replied to which is mine, you believe doesn’t hold up at all.

Though I understand that it was a little too ambiguous on my part, since it seems I am currently the only person replying post my comment who is not reading my statement to imply :

“using all senses isn’t good since North Korea should have double the score of everyone else”

Which at least is not at all what I am trying to say.

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Thank you all for sharing your thoughts!

Honestly, what made me even come up with this question was this interview that I read, in which they acknowledge to use a slightly different memorization method…

And as far as the scores are concerned, I think they did take it to nearly double! For example in Binary they went from 5,597 to 9,999 and in Hour Cards from 37 decks to 48 decks.

This made me ponder even more if it’s just A LOT OF PRACTICE or they have a better technique?

Secondly, from a video clip that I’ve seen, they were literally memorizing hour cards at the speed of speed cards, just one quick glance of a few seconds.

So that’s why I thought it would be great to ponder on this, maybe we find something new!


Sorry, I hadn’t realised the ambiguity there! Your interpretation is correct :slight_smile:

Similarly with memory sports - using your senses is just one part of what’s involved in memorizing. There’s also the conversion of the original data into mnemonic representations, and navigating the memory journey. It may also be that using more senses takes more time, while making recall easier, so we shouldn’t necessarily expect higher scores from someone using more senses.


If it’s just A LOT OF PRACTICE or they have a better technique?

As I understand it, they haven’t approached the base of my mountain of practice. Granted, there is no reason to believe that I should be the best even with more practice, but I’m fairly skilled and the systems I use are solid, so the major differences between us are:
a) they put in some comparably small hours of total practice
b) their systems are different
c) their training methods are different
d) they knew that their entire extended family would be executed if they didn’t win.

I have my money on C for making the greatest difference


I usually take everything I read about the skills of north koreans with more grains of salt than mcdonalds puts on their french fries. But lets say that they are fully honest.

To start with your initial post, whenever I see Quantum Speed Reading, I am already resisting the urge to pass them on to James Randi. Given that the quantum speed reading you mention is the reading-with-book-closed kind of reading.

As for the all senses method, it is insanely vague. It can be a PAO with senses instead of persons, actions an objects, it can be a dominic/major kind of system with senses (0=seeing, 1=hearing, 01=something that triggers both senses, like a movie.), It could even be a normal system where they train to include every sense in the images.

I think the latter would be sacrificing speed for image solidity, while the former ones could make for interesting systems to experiment with.

Yet there is something else I want to bring up. There can just be a loss in translation. What if they work the same as we do, they turn abstract information into concrete imagery. Yet what they think we do is lost in translation. The dominic system turns numbers into names. Not into images, but names. Sure the journalist includes a good explanation, but do the north koreans know this? They might think that we do just the names, and by saying that they include all senses could be meaning that they turn it into images.

Not the most plausible explanation, but in any kind of article there is a part of writer’s influence in the message that is being spread. As far as I can see, it is not north korea telling it to us, it is a journalist who tells us what north korea told him. That is at least two different languages you translate into eachother, and earlier posts have revealed that even the meaning of words resembling the same concept (like ‘love’) can differ based on the language you speak them in.

But again, it is north korea we are talking about. They are not known for their objective integrity.


Totally agree with you!

I agree, there could be a communication gap. I personally know people who directly asked them at the WMC 2019 with a translator about their techniques, and all they replied was the same (as the journalist states) “we use our senses to memorize”! So it’s not just the journalist, I have personal friends who confirmed this.

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I was just kidding, but yeah, maybe you’re right.


Oh. Yeah, it’s C. We’re ignorant, I’m afraid. A decent model of the brain would go a long way. I’ve been trying to ask him about that, but I think his smart phone must be in the shop.


Very simple indeed and without merit.

By what assumption do you argue that each additional sense should combine in a simple arithmetic relationship? Would you also argue that the could double their scores by training twice as long? In most natural processes there is a law of diminishing returns where the initial investment produces the greatest gain but subsequent efforts, yield smaller but still significant improvements. The world abounds in example of effects that combine in ways that are not at all straightforward.

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For clarity :

I do not.

No, the conditions for something like this are impractical.

I am aware of this to the extent that I have said this myself at least 5 times to other people: “The world abounds in example of effects that combine in ways that are not at all straightforward”, perhaps with a different wording.

I don’t understand any point of this all talk but i just knew that the new system developed by them is great because of their scores

I think memory community should request to Korean tell us their system & way of imagination we can make it further good

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Speaking personally here:

When I was a young man (considered myself very fast memoriser) I tried using all the senses of the brain, you know: heat, cold, light, darkness, taste, color… It didn’t work for me at all.

I came to the conclusion that ‘too many senses spoil the broth’. I determined that visualization plus action are the cornerstones of great recall and speed (and of course practice). It’s a simple, streamlined approach. That approach has been the powerful engine that pushes boundaries.

I also think that how One approaches practice makes a huge difference to One’s success.

Not saying it won’t work for others.

I’m constantly looking and being aware of new approaches to memorization. However, I’m beginning to think that unless a very new, different, radical approach to memorization (not drugs) is found, we are reaching our limits of the same piece of cloth we’ve all been given to cut, unless you are a savant.

I would love to see good solid evidence that using multiple senses are a massive improvement or at least an improvement worth my investment.


Then was researching on how to memorize with all 5 senses.

I have some ideas about this:

  1. When you try to use all your senses in an attempt to memorise something using imagination, you are aiming (whether you like it or not) to imagine something in a very realistic/lifelike way. It is possible that your imagined smell for example will not be remembered, but may still have helped in creating a memory of let say a cup of coffee placed in front of your door.
  2. I imagine that with the sense of smell there is a powerful asymmetry at play; a familiar smell can revive a decades old memory, but remembering a smell seems quite often (at least to me) less easy. So I therefore don’t see much value (for me that is) in using it in memorising.
  3. Using you imaginary senses also involves imagining what it takes to do that and the reaction to the sensation. So in the example of the cup of coffee in front of your door; you may imagine bending over and inhaling in a smell oriented fashion and feeling a sense of well being (when you are a coffee addict like me).
  4. In power sports like powerlifting and weightlifting a trainer may often give indirect cues to the trainee like for example in the squat: “pretend that your are going to sit on a toilet” (this will ensure breaking at the hips (= good form) rather than breaking at the knees (=bad form). So in a simular fashion, the “use all your senses” cue, may me mostly about (indirectly) ensuring a realistic/ifelike imagination.