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The secret principles underlying a super power memory

In Tony Buzan's book Use Your Memory (to be reviewed later this year) he writes that the Greeks understood that there were two underlying principles for perfect memory. You must ASSOCIATE (link) whatever it is you wish to remember with a fixed location in your mind (later articles will cover how you can do this) using your IMAGINATION throughout.

We now know that the upper part of the brain is divided in half (see this month's amazing brain fact) and that each half specializes in different mental traits. In order to enhance your ability to remember and bring together the features of both sides of the brain, you should include the following when you ASSOCIATE and use your IMAGINATION to produce mnemonic imagery:

  1. Sensuality

    Most of the great natural memorizers blended their senses and introduced the following elements when they memorized:

    1. Vision.

    2. Hearing.

    3. Sense of smell

    4. Taste.

    5. Touch.

    6. Kinesthesia.(awareness of bodily position).

    So the more that you involve your senses, the greater your ability to recall the information that you have learnt.

  2. Movement

    Association is one of the keys to a good memory. If you leave your coat in a cloakroom at a theatre, you will be given a ticket. When you return you expect to exchange the ticket that you were given for your coat. That is because the ticket you had was associated with the peg that held your coat. The same works with your memory. You will have a series of pegs in your mind (to be covered next month) which you associate with what you want to remember and when you recall, you go to that peg and the association will prompt the information stored.

  3. Association

    Ask yourself which of the two situations are you likely to remember the most? First of all consider an oak tree in a forest of oak trees. Now consider the same oak tree swaying violently while the trees around it are seemingly unaffected by whatever is causing the movement. The motion gives the mind more possibilities for it to 'link in' and thus remember.

  4. Humor

    Have fun with your memory and make all of your images funny, absurd and ridiculous. If you watch pedestrians walking past a lamp post in a crowded street nothing really stands out until someone does not watch where they are going and...

  5. Imagination

    Einstein (see the section on The great Minds) said "Imagination is more important than knowledge". Your imagination is vital to a good memory and the more you use it the better your memory will be.

  6. Number

    As Tony Buzan says, "Numbering adds specificity and efficiency to the principle of order and sequence".

  7. Symbolism

    A picture speaks a thousand words and so a more meaningful image that represents something boring or abstract will aid the memory process.

  8. Color

    If we introduce the facilities of both sides of the brain into our memory techniques our overall performance improves - Color is a feature of the workings of the right side of the brain. Also the more colorful the image, the easier it is to remember.

  9. Order and/or sequence

    By adding order and/or sequence it is easier for the brain to randomly access any piece of the information learned.

  10. Positive Images

    The more positive and pleasant your mnemonic images are, the more likely your brain will want to return to them.

  11. Exaggeration

    Exaggeration of size, shape and sound will enhance the image. If you saw a 10 foot high mouse wandering around your home town, I am sure that you would remember it!

If you apply all these elements to your mnemonic imagery, then your are on your way to developing a good memory.

About the author

Michael Tipper is an entertaining speaker specializing in the practical business and educational application of Mind Mapping®, Speed Reading, Memory Skills, Accelerated Learning and Creative Thought. – Michael’s home page.