Usage of memory-palace and other questions

Hello community,

first of it’s having awesome to have such an online community full with people interested in the art of memory. I read a book about mnemo technqiues and I am now hooked… However as a beginner I have some general questions and oberservations where I coud need a bit the guidance from more experienced “students” of memory.

Questions:

  1. I feel like I don’t know what I have memorized! I only know I have some kind of information saved in my brain, but what it looks like and what it is … I don’t know it. I first must walk through my loci path and think about all the pictures and put them togehter… Then I “know” what I have learned. After saying my quote I “forget” it again and I would need to walk again through my loci path to know what I have learned. So its feels like I use my memory like a book. I have to activly read it to know whats written. While with my “normal” memory, I just know stuff.

2.) When I do my repetitions do keep the stuff in my head for a long time, should I picture the pictures or try to say the words that they mean? Do I visualize the pictures again or do I try to say their meaning and forget about the pictures with time?

3.) Let’s say you read 1 book a week for 52 books a week and want to keep the key things with you. So you proabably need for 1 book around 50-100 loci. If you do that for 10 years… you will need a lot of loci. Is this actually doable? And do you “remeber” the stuff then (see question 1) or do you just have endless pictures in your head and don’t “know” anything …

4.) In a person-action-object system, is it good when you imagine something thats already connected? For example Mike Tyson is immeditaly pictured with boxing gloves and boxing.

5.) Is it “normal” that your brain when thinking about a picture, recalls less imaginations but more words/word constructions? I feel like my brain likes to use words to describe stuff, and there is no picture linked to it, its more of a vague concept in my mind. Do I need to work on my picture immagintion skills and try to get more “pictures” there? For example (bad one but I can’t think of a better one at the moment): You have to memorize a blue ball with red dots. I see then a ball but my mind says in words “red dots”

Background infos:

I am mainy intersted in memoarizing to learn and memorize what I have read or heard. I would like to be able to remember quotes, texts, ideas and build my general knowledge about.

So far I have used the loci method to remember some quotes and stumbled upon some problems.

Task:

“Der Besitz besitzt. Nur bis zu einem gewissen Grade, macht der Besitzt den Menschen unabhängiger, freier; eine Stufe weiter - und der Besitz wird zum Herrn, der Besitzende zum Sklaven.” ~ Nietzsche

rough translation:
“Possession posses you. Only to a certain degree makes possesion the human more independend, free; one step further and possesion is lord, the owner is sklave”

Goal:
memorize it word for word and be able to quote it in a conversation, or just to myself

What I did:
1.) break it down into smaller chunks
2.) make pictures out of it
3.) put them in my loci route

Questions:

  1. I feel like I don’t know what I have memorized! I only know I have some kind of information saved in my brain, but what it looks like and what it is … I don’t know it. I first must walk through my loci path and think about all the pictures and put them togehter… Then I “know” what I have learned. After saying my quote I “forget” it again and I would need to walk again through my loci path to know what I have learned. So its feels like I use my memory like a book. I have to activly read it to know whats written. While with my “normal” memory, I just know stuff.

2.) When I do my repetitions do keep the stuff in my head for a long time, should I picture the pictures or try to say the words that they mean? Do I visualize the pictures again or do I try to say their meaning and forget about the pictures with time?

3.) Let’s say you read 1 book a week for 52 books a week and want to keep the key things with you. So you proabably need for 1 book around 50-100 loci. If you do that for 10 years… you will need a lot of loci. Is this actually doable? And do you “remeber” the stuff then (see question 1) or do you just have endless pictures in your head and don’t “know” anything …

4.) In a person-action-object system, is it good when you imagine something thats already connected? For example Mike Tyson is immeditaly pictured with boxing gloves and boxing.

5.) Is it “normal” that your brain when thinking about a picture, recalls less imaginations but more words/word constructions? I feel like my brain likes to use words to describe stuff, and there is no picture linked to it, its more of a vague concept in my mind. Do I need to work on my picture immagintion skills and try to get more “pictures” there? For example (bad one but I can’t think of a better one at the moment): You have to memorize a blue ball with red dots. I see then a ball but my mind says in words “red dots”

Thanks for reading :smile:

4 Likes

Hello Shonun,

I’ll answer your questions based on my experience. I can’t call myself memory master, yet I have quite few things memorized already.

I had the same problem. In my case the solution was to make sure to memory palace (or memory place, actually) is vividly linked to the thing you want to remember. I use one huge memory palace, in which I have different objects, across different rooms and floors. Each object is usually a memory palace (memory place) on it’s own. For example to remember credit card number I have a marble statue of Freddy Mercury with leather jacket (leather is quite distiguishable from marble) in his famous fist up gesture. In his fist he holds my credit card. Locis are placed inside the jacket (that’s why it has to be vivid). This is the reason why I call it “memory place”, because it’s actually not the separate palace where I store my card number - it’s an object in the palace which does it.

I recommend you to review images, not words. Of course if meanwhile you will review words, it’s ok, but keep in mind that the whole point of memory palace is to store images, as those are more memorable than words. And make sure to keep your images vivid.

I actually answered it in first question, yet to repeat - you can store your images anywhere. I use daily life objects like headphones for debit card number (different than Freddy’s). Also an enourmous help in my case was using paintings as small memory palaces - each painting usually has more than 10 locis, some of them can have even hundreds). I place the painting in the memory palace and it’s just enough to link the painting with the thing I want to remember. Like, for example “Portrait of an artist’s wife, Theodosia, as Ophelia” by John Atkinson Grimshaw pictures a woman with flower wreath. It was enough for me to imagine those flowers are made of gold to remember that my account numbers are stored in this painting (the painting has 13 more locis, enough to store it’s dimension (2 locis), year when it was painted (1 loci) and 2 account numbers using PAO (10 locis)).

I use PAO with Major system, so each person encrypts a 2 digit number, based on the first two consonants in the name. For example Stephen Hawking is 01. He is riding (action) a wheelchair (object). I don’t like the idea that actions and objects should use major system as well. For me it’s enough if the person does and object/action is easily linked to the person (Hawkeye shooting arrow, Nemo swimming ocean etc).

I believe it’s all the matter of personal predispositions, but with enough training and experience you will be able to imagine “scenes” more vividly. Next time when you encounter this issue make sure to use more than just sight, try to touch the object, maybe taste it, listen to it’s sound or do something with it. This will help you memorize the object with image, not the words. Back to ball example - maybe those red dots are made of glass and the rest of the ball is wooden? You could definetely feel it. Maybe dots are red jelly beans and you can feel strawberry taste? “Imagination is the limit”.

I hope my answers helped you a bit.

Good luck with the training!

3 Likes

Rather than answering your questions I will give some explanations:

You don’t know the information, put simply we all know the language and vocabulary, these things are constructed together in chunks to imply things. You are saying you require recalling the images you do know, to have them generate the chunk that you do not know. You can freely construct the chunk but you can not do non-working-memory manipulations with that chunk because it is not stored, it is generated. In short your memory is at a state where what you remember is the locations and the locations help you recall the pictures because they are linked to them. These pictures generate the information. There are not so many issues with this but the more critical issue is that this is very close to not knowing when to recall a location to recall the memory. The reason this happens is because the fact that you can generate the information from the image lasts longer as a memory then the actual generation aside the image. Reviewing more frequently can solve all these things.

There are a lot of dangers here but this is based on my explanation for your previous question. You kind of get to choose, what happens is obvious: ‘picturing the pictures’: you will degrade the non-picture-output,‘say the words that they mean’ you will attach the words to the pictures and have a less memorable memory of the words without the pictures (in the long run), ‘visualise the pictures again’, eventually the memory of the words can vanish, ‘forget about the pictures’, you may no longer know if you do know the information or not.

To highlight , this is more about what you forget because you do remember more things more efficiently. Often the idea that you know something is implanted to you by how many things you have attached to it, not whether you know to manipulate or output that chunk of information respective to all possible cues.

Here I say back to it, see my explanation for 1, the humour aside, being able to make loci quickly is also a skill. I estimate the fastest someone can make 100 loci in is less than a few seconds, if we are talking about a non-existent true master of it. I can definitely make 20 loci in 10 seconds, using imaginary locations I generate on the spot, so at the very least, it is doable.

Its common to say standing out is good -> something bizarre is memorable. The reason this is true is because when you have similar things you will get confused and perhaps think you have seen them before (interference), hence using a boxing glove which you have perhaps seen in many places is seen as a worse idea. This is however not as important as having one thing link to the other. Think of it like this, what is really important is not that you separately remember what it is but that you remember from whatever situation you are in what it is. Surely you have had that moment where you were thinking ‘ah what was it, it was on the tip of my tongue’, this is something you actually knew and know, if however what you are trying to remember hits you in the face, you are surely going to recall that this is what you wanted to remember.

It is “Normal”, it isn’t so much an issue with imagination. You have the words linked to the picture. You do not have many pictures linked to the word, is about as simple as that interpretation is. This is naturally due to the nature of pictures (“an image says 1000 words”). A more image friendly approach is to have videos of pictures to describe something.

2 Likes

Hello Nagime and Jakhy, thanks for your detailed answers, they were insightful. :smile:

@Jakhy One of your key tips is to build memory places that are connected to the subject you are memoring. Also you recommend “linking” between the “overview memory palace” and the different sub topics. Good advices thank for that !

@Nagime One of your key points was to use more elements and ankers with my imagined pictures and also turn them into “videos”. I not complelty understood your answer to question 1 tho, but the message of frequenctly reviewing I understood.
How do you do that with 20loci in 10 sec? Can you recommend a good post/article about that and is it for long-term storage of the info?

Further opinions and advices are welcomed :slight_smile:

It is for long term storage.

My explanation to question 1 in simple terms is, what you review sticks but some things get forgotten much faster than others. If you stop reviewing those forgotten things you may not realise you have forgotten them.

Things like when you see information on what you have remembered, you won’t remember which loci stores it but you can go through your palaces to find the right loci. Essentially you have forgotten the link between the information and location, even if you remember the information. Something like this can happen and reviewing a bit more frequently can avoid it or doing as @Jakhy says, where this causes the memory of the link to last longer than some other aspects. The key thing is that even though you are remembering things more easily you need to keep in mind that you are remembering more, so, some parts of your memory can be completely forgotten if they are not reviewed under spaced repetition before others.

2 Likes

Hey @Nagime thanks for your reponse, I appreciate it again helpful ! Also thanks for writing this long thread where you explain your method. Lots of valueable information in there. 100 loci per 1 min thats impressive! :open_mouth:

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Exactly how I memorise Old English and pretty much the technique for verbatim memorisation that everyone else tends to use. I would add that it helps not just make pictures of it but to imbue those pictures with emotions and senses (what does it smell of?) and when placing those images on the Loci they should ‘interact’ with the Loci and -if possible-have a reason for being there.

Thank you for the tip. Yes I have this information from the forums here, that’s why I do it like this.

This happens early on. Think of memory palaces not as a collection of memories, but as a book. When placing images in the palace, you are basically “writing in a book”.

The more you review the information, the more it will start to feel natural and you will notice that it becomes more of a “normal” memory. Just like when reading actual notes.

Start with both. In my long term palaces I do both until the image is burned in my mind. You want to keep the image in your palace for the reason mentioned above: to be able to “read” the information in case you need to

Likewise you also want to keep the meaning of the image (thus the information) fresh. In the end it is the imformation that matters most, but it is the image that gets you there.

This bit is close to my expertise as I in fact have a lot of memory palaces in that range of size. It does depend on how dedicated you are, and gets easier with time, but 100 loci is certainly doable in a palace you build in a day. In fact, if I would need to, I could make a 100-loci palace of my own body, clothing and belongings that I carry with me every day.

The more palaces you build, the easier it gets and the easier it will become to recognize what could make a good locus.

It can be if that is how your mind works. The tough part in mnemonics is saying what will work for someone else. My mind wanted the things to be connected, so that is what I did. Others went with coding everything through the system they use.

The trick is to find images that work for you. Generally, it helps to turn plain things into stories/events that are funny, erotic, weird or a combination of those.

If I need to remember a blue ball with red dots I could take the weird route. I see a big ball with the blue and red on it, but they are not colors, they are armies, the blues and the reds. The blues are stronger, they overwhelm the reds until only few red camps are left scattered across the ball.

I could also take the erotic route and do something with blue balls and maybe red lipstick. I shall not dwell on the details.

Let your imagination run wild. Mnemonics can be one hell of a drug

3 Likes

Hello Mayarra, thank you for your detailed response.:smiley:
Do you can recommend further threads/ideas where I can find more good infos regarding the “big-long loci” places?