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MemoryChart

Introduction

While simple links may suffice for a great many types of information, sometimes the relationship between pieces of information is just as important as the information. To help preserve these relationships, you would use a memory chart.

The Memory Chart

The memory chart concept is based on the same idea as a map, where coordinates specify a particular point. Using a letter and number coordinate system, a basic 10 by 10 memory chart would look like this:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J

Each coordinate identifies a particular place where information can be held. To link the information to a particular coordinate, you will combine the letters with your number pegs from the MajorSystem.

For coordinate A0, your mnemonic would be a word beginning with an A that uses a S or Z sound as its only consonant sound. "Ace" or "ass" would be acceptable as a mnemonic. If more than one word is possible for a link, you'll want to decide on the basis of the word's potential for use in ridiculous imagery. A1 could be "ate" or "add", but "ate" has better potential for ridiculous images for example.

Once you have developed link mnemonic for all the spaces, and know them strongly, you are ready to use the memory chart as a tool.

The memory chart doesn't have to be 10 by 10. It can be as small as 2 by 2, and as large as you wish to make it. As long as you know your link mnemonics for each coordinate, you can use a chart as large as you can handle. The size of the coordinate system you use should be determined by the amount of information you wish to remember and the level of detail in which you wish to remember it.

Another way to expand the usefulness of the memory chart is to put more than one item in each box, using the LinkSystem.

Uses

Almost any sort of location or schematic information is perfect for the memory chart concept. If you simply wish to remember the relative locations of, say, each state in the United States, a simple 3 by 3 graph would work well:

0 1 2
A Alaska, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Wyoming N. Dakota, Wisconsin, S. Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana Maine, Massachussetts, New Hampshire, Cnnecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey
B California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, W. Virginia, N. Carolina
C California, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana S. Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida

In this chart, the states in A0 would be in the northwest, A1 in the north, and A2 in the northeast. B0 would be the west, B1 would be the central states, and B2 would be the eastern states. C0 gives us states in the southwest, C1 are the southern states, and C2 contains the states in the southeast.

To remember the contents of each square, you would link A0 to Alaska. To remember Alaska, you would simply break up the word into a similar sounding word or phrase that's easily pictured. For this link, you might picture two people talking, and one says, "Ace?" (A0) And the other says, "I'll ask her" (Alaska). In a similar manner, you could now link Alaska to Montana, Montana to Washington, and so on.

Here are some ideas for use with the memory chart:

Discussion

I think this is a really useful technique for memorising precise charts of data - for example, the periodic table. However, for examples like memorising the locations of the states of the US, I think a 'location' based system may be more appropriate. The system I would use broadly follows that described by Dominic O'Brien in his books. For example, in memorising the US states, you could choose a building you know well (e.g. your house). The states in the northwest of the US (Alaska, etc.) would be placed in a room in the northwest of the house, the states in the south in a room at the south of the house, etc. I think this may be a more effective technique, because:

Any comments?

ThufirHawat

Knowing what concepts and strategies are favored by the top performers in any field can be very beneficial, but it can be a mistake to limit your field of view to just those ideas. Discovering new and different concepts, and what works for you, is the best way to approach things.

I see repeated comments on various pages on this site that say things like, "Dominic O'Brien does things this way," or, "Andi Bell does them that way." That's great, but I don't happen to be either of those people. I have my own uses and needs for memory systems, and they probably vary greatly from the top memorizers. Were this site limited to solely teaching what a few top people in memorization do, there would be far fewer pages in this site.

No page on this site, in my opinion, is here to promote any one mental strategy over any other, but rather to inform about different approaches.

Perhaps a page under the "Tips" section, concerning a comparison of various strategies are favored by the top people (and why those people favor them!) in the field of memorization would be a worthwhile addition.

ScottCram

Yes, I think a comparison of strategies used by top memorisers would be a great idea, maybe at TopMemorisersStrategies? or somewhere like that. In the absence of much in depth scientific comparison of these systems, I think looking at top memorisers gives some really useful clues on what works more or less well.

ThufirHawat