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Memory Mnemonic Principles

Increase Memory Using Memory Mnemonics

How often do you exercise your brain? Did you know that you can exercise your brain to increase memory? Your brain needs regular exercise to stay strong. Imagine having a memory where you don’t forget people’s names, passwords, or phone numbers. It’s possible to remember everything you learn.

In ancient antiquity, people had no electronics to assist them with remembering information. Instead, they developed an elaborate system of memory mnemonics that allowed them to accomplish incredible memory feats. They learned how to increase memory through exercise. This system of memory is called memory mnemonics. The word mnemonic originates from the name of the Greek Goddess Mnemosyne. She was the Goddess of memory and the inventor of language. The ancient Greeks believed that the Greek kings received powers to increase memory and improve speech from Goddess Mnemosyne.


Although technology replaced our need for memorizing extensive poems and texts, exercising memory still has a huge impact on our lives. Many people are re-learning the art of memory from the ancient Greeks. This incredible ability can give you advantages in academia, social activities, and every day life.

This article will discuss three principles of memory mnemonics that will help to increase memory.


Principles of Mnemonics

1. Association is a mnemonic principle that allows a person to associate something new with something they already know. By creating an association you can remember a new memory whenever you think of an old memory. In future articles we’ll show you how association is fundamental in advanced memory systems. Ultimately, the goal is to increase memory by linking new memories with memories you already know.

So how does association help increase memory? Let’s say you’ve never eaten an orange before. One day, out of the blue, a friend invites you to fly to Florida and when you get there he gives you a fruit called an orange. You’ve ever seen an orange before. You take a moment and smell the orange peel, see and feel the texture, and soon you taste your first orange. Delicious! Since that’s the first time you ate an orange, you memory will think of oranges when you think of the word Florida. Your brain naturally associates things you don’t know with things you do. The location Florida gives your brain the starting connection it needs to remember eating your first orange.

Furthermore, your brain will also associate oranges with the color orange, the sweet taste, and the texture of the fruit. The more senses that you engage in a memory the more associations you form, and the better your brain will remember an incident. Any of these associations can be used to trigger that memory of your first orange.

This was a simple example of how your brain applies association but this principle can be used in many ways to increase memory.


2. Imagination is a mnemonic principle used to strengthen the natural associations that your brain creates. The more unique a memory is, the better you will be able to recall it. This principle can be harnessed to increase memory. Imagination plays an important part in retaining new memories. It also helps to increase memory and strengthen associations. Imagination is important because you remember unique memories and forget mundane ones. The more vivid, bizarre, unusual, comical, sensual, or emotional memories are the easier you remember them.

For example, let’s say your car needs to be serviced, but you normally forget to make an appointment. Let’s try using your imagination to increase memory and remind you about your car.

Try picturing your car with a giant thermometer stuck to its grill. That means you need to make an appointment. The next time you walk out to your car, you’ll easily be able to remember the thermometer and recall what it means. You could also try picturing the tires turning to stones, to remind yourself to change your tires. Perhaps, you could visualize the car wearing a giant pirate eye patch over one of its headlight to remember that the headlight needs a new light bulb.

By using your imagination, you can remember to schedule an appointment for your car the minute you see it. We will expand on this idea as we go deeper into how you can use memory mnemonics to increase memory in every day life.


3. Organization is another powerful mnemonic principle. Organization uses association to organize memories in order to increase memory. Organization will allow us to store information associated with a specific location to create a mental filing system. Associating memories with locations is easy.

Let’s try using your car to store memories. I’ll choose 5 places in a typical car: the side-view mirror, the steering wheel, the dashboard, the glove compartment and the passenger seat. Choose these memory places in a clockwise direction so that you can quickly move from one location to another. Next, we associate your memories with the memory locations.

For example let’s memorize a grocery list. Let’s say you want to purchase eggs, milk, cereal, butter, and ground beef. We’re going to use imagination and association to improve the strength of the memory. Imagine throwing an egg at the side-view mirror. Next, pour milk over the steering wheel. Picture these actions vividly. Then spill cereal all over the dashboard. See the cereal making a huge mess! After that, spread butter inside your glove compartment. Finally, rub ground beef all over the passenger car seat. This allows you to remember your grocery list by simply revisiting parts of your car. This practice of using objects as memory mnemonics is called The Object System.

The Object System is a powerful tool to increase memory. In future articles, we’ll describe how organization can apply to any memory you want to remember. At first, applying these principles of mnemonics to increase memory may seem difficult. But don’t worry, with practice, mnemonics become quick and easy.

Try our memory course for more details on using memory mnemonics in every day life. Memory mnemonics can help you remember anything. In our memory course, we mix these ideas with the power of spaced repetition, neural net memorization, and more to train you how to use your memory to achieve incredible results.


Image by Dustin Gaffke