Improving Your Memory – Memory Palace

Posted: March 6, 2010 in Mentalism

Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you walked into that room? Have you ever studied for an exam, and found that when it came to taking an exam you couldn’t remember how on earth to answer that science question? These things happen to all of us at some point in our life, but how can we improve our memories so that whenever we need to, we can recall on information that we have learned and then stored?

Firstly, sleep is very important. Studies have shown that people who do not get enough good quality sleep suffer from bad memory, this is because research has shown that whilst we sleep, our brain organises the things we’ve learnt and places them into our long term memory which enables us to remember them the next day. However if you’re getting bad quality, or a lack of sleep then you’re less likely to remember things, because your brain hasn’t been able to filter the information efficiently and some “data” is lost.

The most important part in improving your memory is to begin to pay attention to things, improving your own memory is very well linked with improving your observation. I’ve already discussed techniques on improving observation before which can be found half way down the page by CLICKING HERE. By paying attention and making small notes of things inside your head, then you’re more likely to remember something. If you sit there only half listening to what someone is saying, then you wont be taking in that information and you’ll be less likely to remember what’s been said.

Improving observation and learning to pay attention is only part of memory improvement though. What if you need to remember a whole list of things for an exam, or maybe you’d like to go shopping without having to take a list with you and still be able to remember exactly what you need? In order to do this you’ll need to create a memory palace.

What is a memory palace? well, putting it simply a memory palace is a place in your mind that you can walk around and see everything clearly, you can make it up although it’s usually more effective if you use a place you know very well like the work place, college, home, your town etc..as long as you can clearly see everything in your mind, then building the memory palace should come quickly.

There are two ways to do this, however I’ll only discuss one of those in this blog so that in my next blog i’ll have something to talk about.

In this example we’re going to be trying to remember the list below, you can try this with me and then in an hours time, see how many you’re able to remember. I’ll be using a short shopping list of 10 items for this example.

  1. Lettuce
  2. Apples
  3. Oranges
  4. Mince
  5. Pork
  6. Beef
  7. Pizza
  8. Lamb
  9. Biscuits
  10. Kit Kats

The items above will be the items that we’ll be putting into our memory palace so that we can remember them later on, admittedly, this isn’t the best of shopping lists. Now, for building the memory palace as I said above, you need to picture a place you know very well, for this example I’m going to use my college, however you can use anything you know clearly.

What I’d do to remember the above items is to close my eyes.

As I walk into the main reception of college, I see a big poster in front of me advertising Lettuce, I then walk down the corridor when I see someone dressed up in an apple suit, as I head towards the double doors leading to the stairs I see someone walk past eating an orange, I then walk up the stairs and see a packet of PORK MINCE on the floor (Pork Mince will remind me that I need to buy both Pork and Mince) I arrive at the 1st floor and I see a cow standing there ready to open the door to the corridor for me, I walk through the doors and see a picture of pizza on the wall in front of me, I turn around and a lamp stands up and hands me a packet of biscuits and on that packet of biscuits there’s a picture advertising Kit Kats.

You’ll notice that as I walk through my well known area I implant things that are on my list into that area. It may take you a little time to get it going so make sure you start with smaller lists, however once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to remember lists of over 100 things and this can also be applied to revision so that you can easily recall the information whenever you need it, just by closing your eyes and walking through your memory palace.

Try it with the list above, and see how you get on.

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Comments
  1. marytutt says:

    thanks! I’ve been wanting to learn to do this for a while, and this post made me realize I can do it.

  2. TheMilkMan says:

    Cool it worked :D. I looked at this this morning and 12 hours later I can remember it easy.

    What I did was I walk to my door and the knob is a head of lettuce. The knob on the other side of the door is an apple. I walk to the kitchen and it’s completely orange and the texture of one too. On the wall is a pig nailed to the wall like a portrait. In the room down the hall is a cow moo-ing. Then in the garage is the trailer but it has pizza for wheels. Further on the trash cans are replaced with a sheep going baaaa. Then I turn around to go back in the house and see that the knob is a buscuit and also see my slippers that are 2 giant kit kats. I don’t know what mince is so I left it out but I remembered it because I remember that I didn’t know wtf mince was :P.

  3. […] CLICK HERE to view “Memory Palace” article. […]

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