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Quick and Effective Linking

When linking one image to another, the basis of all memory techniques, there are principles to follow for creating clear, vivid images that stay memorable.

Be Ridiculous

One of the most important principles in memory technique is that the image created should be as ridiculous and as imaginative as possible. If you're trying to link CHEF to PAN, it may be tempting to simply picture a chef cooking with a pan. This image is ineffective and easily forgotten because there is nothing remarkable about it.

To make the image more memorable, it would be better to picture the chef actually frying in the pan, or perhaps you might picture a chef who is a pan. Either of these images is unusual, and will be more easily recalled later, when it is needed.

Picture Principles

Besides the use of ridiculous images, there are many other techniques you can use when creating your images:

These techniques are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you'll find that that image is more easily recalled the more you mix these techniques.


Tony Buzan created a mnemonic for what he considers to be the most important principles for creating memorable mnemonic images for a PegSystem, LociSystem, MemoryPalace, etc.:


For more information, see the Smashin' Scope page at the World Wide Brain Club.


I don't know if this is the place to say it or not, but here goes:

I have come to believe that systems for memorization are one of the "essential things" we're looking for in mnemonics.

This may go a ways to explain why the DominicSystem is preferred to the MajorSystem. The system gives you a quicker link, because you are automatically (by the system) given most of what you need to link together. And it gives some boundaries for your imagination to work with. (I'm banking on the idea that creativity is easiest when it has some constraints to work with.)

Systems provide:

So, for example, in the DominicSystem, you get "Albert Einstein, delivering toys to children." (AEHO) That right there is immediately memorable.

In the MajorSystem, you have 1580, and you get "t/d-l-v/f-z/s," which you need to yank around a bit ("dloves, tvfs, toolafels, dill face, fill fuzz, adolefizz, adolf saw, adolf sew") in order to get "adolf sew."

So I believe two things:

-- LionKimbro [[DateTime?(2004-05-20T15:27:52Z)]]

Do we have a page just on various MnemonicAcronym``s, as opposed to other ways of remembering stuff such as MemoryPalace ? -- -- DavidCary? [[DateTime?(2004-09-10T02:20:32Z)]]

For more mnemonic acronyms, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mnemonic

For specific mnemonics, see http://www.ict4us.com/mnemonics/

LionKimbro has a good point that I think needs to be expanded. We use the word "system" a lot, but we're using it to mean two different things:

  1. a procedure for turning something that's difficult to remember into something that's easier to remember; 2. a higher-level system that incorporates several such procedures in an organized way, with built-in hooks and pegs.

The MajorSystem, by itself, is the first kind of system: a procedure for converting numbers into words. It's no different than Lewis Carroll's system or the number-letter system embedded in the DominicSystem. What the DominicSystem does is take a number-letter system, combine it with the principles of vivid visualization (described above) and incorporating actors and actions (which was GiordanoBruno's major improvement on RamonLlull's memory system,) and offer the whole as an orderly set of hooks and pegs, combined with ways of using those hooks and pegs. It's not that the DominicSystem is better than the MajorSystem, because you could plug the MajorSystem into the DominicSystem, in place of his number-letter correspondences (and, in fact, that's what other systems like the FurstSystem have done.) You have to build your own list of actors and actions anyways, so what difference does it make if Albert Einstein is Peg 15 (DominicSystem) or Peg 52 (MajorSystem)? What matters is building your peg lists systematically, so that you can find items when you need them.

I think the short way to explain all this is: we're looking for orderly MnemonicCues to use our MnemonicTechniques with. Most people know you can convert words into images, or rhymes, or acronyms or acrostics. But those techniques only work if we have MnemonicCues to help us recall the information when we need it. Every student always remembers that they need to bring their books to class. They just don't always remember it before they leave home.

-- JohnLaviolette [[DateTime?(2007-10-06T02:35:36Z)]]

recall the information when we need it. Yes, that's the trick. Trying to avoid "intelligence failure". -- -- DavidCary? [[DateTime?(2007-10-07T11:44:34Z)]]