Sunday, July 20, 2014
remembering can be one of our biggest tasks
there are some amazing memory concepts that i came across in this
work by foer, you might find a number of them worthy of experiment
or helpful in your work
i am sharing here with full credit, the original shine article on joshua
foer with thanks for this offering ~
Joshua Foer keeps a Post-it note above his computer that says "Don't
forget to remember." The author of the new book "Moonwalking with
Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything" went from
a man with an average memory to the official U.S. Memory Champ in
2006 by immersing himself in the world of professional memorizing.
After studying the skills to learn entire dictionaries, he became
convinced that anyone could have an exceptional memory. You just
need to know certain memory techniques. Here are six secrets
from his book to becoming a savant.
Build a "memory palace": "Housing" a list of things you need to
memorize is essential.
"The idea is to create a space in the mind's eye, a place that
you know well and can easily visualize and then populate that
imagined place with images representing whatever you want to
remember," writes Foer. It's a method used all the way back in
Ancient Rome, when orators needed to commit their speeches to
memory and when books hadn't yet become the main method of
storytelling. The memory palace should be a place you know
inherently, like the home you grew up in, or the route you take to
work every day. Then take the ten things you need to remember,
like a grocery list, and plant each item in a different place in your
For example, put "paper towels" in your parent's old mailbox,
then walk inside your old home and put "garlic cloves" on the
kitchen counter. When you need to recall those items at the
grocery store, instead of remembering the words, walk through
your childhood home and find each item where you mentally
placed it. It may seem like a lot of effort, but it's a process of
embedding one kind of memory into another memory. Foer
explains: "Humans are good at using spatial memory to structure
and store information whose order comes less naturally." So a list
of numbers or words may be hard to remember but if you embed
them in a memory that naturally unfolds, like the blueprint of your
old apartment, they'll live longer and be easier to retrieve.
Get creative: When you're "dropping off" those grocery list
items in your "memory palace" it helps to engage all of your senses.
Remembering what the garlic smells like, or how the garlic skin
crumbles in your hand before you place it on your mentally
rendered kitchen counter, will help solidify where you put it. It
makes sense in literal life. You're less likely to forget where you put
your keys when you focus on their texture in your hand as you're
laying them down on a table. When you need to remember where
you put them, you'll remember how your hand felt as you put them
down and the image of the table will simultaneously appear. As
Foer found, engaging a sense in your memory helps solidify it.
Get colorful: "Things that grab our attention are more memorable,"
explains Foer. "The funnier, lewder, and more bizarre, the better."
When he was memorizing a grocery list by placing each item in his
"memory palace", Foer was advised to get surreal in his thinking.
"Paint the mind a scene unlike any that has been seen before
so that it cannot be forgotten," Foer's memory coach advised. As
he memorized his first grocery list by using the "memory palace"
technique" he committed "salmon" to memory by imagining it
flopping under the strings of a piano. "The general idea with most
memory techniques is to change whatever boring thing is being
inputted into your memory into something that is so colorful, so
exciting and so different from anything you've seen before that
you can't possibly forget it," he writes.
Try "chunking": "Chunking is a way to decrease the number of
items you have to remember by increasing the size of each item,"
explains Foer. It's the reason phone numbers are broken up into
three sections or why remembering a sentence is easier than
remembering each letter in the sentence. If you are given a series
of digits to remember, just break them up into parts. It also helps
to assign meaning to them. Separating them into three sections as
if they were a date and then remembering that specific date
(take 021411 and rethink it as 02/14/11 or Valentine's Day), will
help solidify the memory.
Practice makes perfect: Foer made it to the memory
championships not simply by learning these techniques but by
replacing them with web surfing or even reading. He'd memorize
numbers up to four hours a day before the big championship. But
for the rest of us, all it takes is about an hour a day of practicing
memory techniques to get our brains working like humming hard
Wear earmuffs: We live in a world of distraction, now more
than ever. In some ways those distractions serve as our exterior
memory banks. Writes Foer: “With our blogs and tweets, digital
cameras, and unlimited-gigabyte e-mail archives, participation in
the online culture now means creating a trail of always present,
ever-searchable, unforgetting external memories that only grows
as one ages.”
But those same blogs, tweets and instant messages with their
pinging noises and flashing colors, make it impossible to focus on
one task at hand, like memorizing a poem. "No matter how crude,
colorful and explicit the images one paints in one's memory palaces,
one can only look at pages of random numbers for so long before
beginning to wonder if there isn't something more interesting going
on in another room." Foer found that an oversize pair of earmuffs
worked to block out exterior noise and helped his brain zoom in on
one task, like memorizing a series of numbers. But more
subtle ear plugs would work just as well.
you can watch his TED talk here ~ remember