Joshua Foer's reportedly uses lessons from cutting-edge research, a history of memory, as well as tricks of the mentalist's trade to come up with some more useful techniques of remembering.
The two or three techniques are useful, but it is all hidden in a book that tries to ape Malcolm Gladwell's school of book writing, where an author will read lots of books, meet some interesting people, and all he has to show for it is a couple of pithy insights!
Just a couple! The lengths to which people go to create sellable blurbs!
Main memory techniques from the book:
1. The memory palace: The idea is about committing to memory a journey through a familiar place and then associating each item in the list you’re trying to memorize with a sequential point in that journey.
Translate what you are trying to remember into images and store them in a place that you can easily visualize in your mind's eye. The more outrageous the mental images, the more likely they would linger in your head.
2. Person-Action-Object (PAO) and chunking technique: In this system every 2-digit number from 00-99 is represented by a single image of a person performing an action on an object. One can then simply recognize any 6-digit number by combining the person from the first two numbers, the action from the second two numbers, and the object from the third two numbers. Card players use this techniques often.
3. Memorizing long text: Text is one of the hardest thing to memorize.
For memorizing prose and poetry, first read a set of lines to get the gist of it, then create an image that captures the essential ‘memes’ of that set of lines, and place each in a memory palace.
Some people assign an image to each line or phrase, others to every word (they use a set of memorized ‘stand-in’ images for the 200-or-so commonest words like pronouns and conjunctions).
Some people make their images intellectually stimulating, while others recall the emotion that the words provoked.
Many use puns, mnemonics or rhyming words as part of their images.
NOTE: Keep in mind that all of these techniques take considerable practice to learn, until they become second nature.
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