An Introduction to Memory Techniques
The tools in this section help you to improve your memory. They help you both to remember facts
accurately and to remember the structure of information.
The tools are split into two sections. Firstly you'll learn the memory techniques themselves. Secondly we'll
look at how you can use them in practice to remember peoples names, languages, exam information, and
As with other mind tools, the more practice you give yourself with these techniques, the more effectively
you will use them. This section contains many of the memory techniques used by stage memory
performers. With enough practice and effort, you may be able to have a memory as good. Even if you do
not have the time needed to develop this quality of memory, many of the techniques here are useful in
'Mnemonic' is another word for memory tool. Mnemonics are techniques for remembering information that
is otherwise quite difficult to recall: A very simple example is the '30 days hath September' rhyme for
remembering the number of days in each calendar month.
The idea behind using mnemonics is to encode difficult-to-remember information in a way that is much
easier to remember.
Our brains evolved to code and interpret complex stimuli such as images, colors, structures, sounds,
smells, tastes, touch, positions, emotions and language. We use these to make sophisticated models of
the world we live in. Our memories store all of these very effectively.
Unfortunately, a lot of the information we have to remember in modern life is presented differently - as
words printed on a page. While writing is a rich and sophisticated medium for conveying complex
arguments, our brains do not easily encode written information, making it difficult to remember.
This section of Mind Tools shows you how to use all the memory resources available to you to remember
information in a highly efficient way.
Using Your Whole Mind to Remember
The key idea is that by coding information using vivid mental images, you can reliably code both
information and the structure of information. And because the images are vivid, they are easy to recall
when you need them.
The techniques explained later on in this section show you how to code information vividly, using stories,
strong mental images, familiar journeys, and so on.
You can do the following things to make your mnemonics more memorable:
Use positive, pleasant images. Your brain often blocks out unpleasant ones
Use vivid, colorful, sense-laden images - these are easier to remember than drab ones
Use all your senses to code information or dress up an image. Remember that your mnemonic
can contain sounds, smells, tastes, touch, movements and feelings as well as pictures.
Give your image three dimensions, movement and space to make it more vivid. You can use