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The Memory Palace Technique

The Memory Palace Technique

What is a Memory Palace?

The Memory Palace (sometimes called the Method of Loci) is the best memory training technique. It involves visualising and structuring information in a creative way, allowing it to be recalled easily at a later date.

Your memory is not a static quantity. You can improve your memory by the proper training and the use of good techniques.

How does the Memory Palace technique work?

Imagine you want to memorise the following list of countries, in the order of who pays the most money into the EU budget (2017).

  1. Germany.
  2. France.
  3. Italy.
  4. UK.
  5. Spain.
  6. Netherlands.
  7. Belgium.
  8. Poland.
  9. Sweden.
  10. Austria.

In order to use the Memory Palace technique, you would pick a house that you know well. Using this house (palace), you would mark out in your mind, a tour around the house, going from room to room, in a natural order.

Let us mark out a few points as follows:

  1. The road outside the house.
  2. The driveway of the house.
  3. The front garden.
  4. The front door.
  5. The inside reception hall.
  6. The lounge.
  7. The dining room.
  8. The kitchen.
  9. The back door.
  10. The back garden.

The technique works like this; imagine for example:

1. Angela Merkel pulling up in a black, red and yellow striped Mercedes in the road outside the house.

2. On the driveway of the house you can see Napoleon Bonaparte, dressed in his grey coat and funny hat.

3. In the front garden you see Julius Caesar, arguing with Napoleon.

4. At the front door, Her Majesty the Queen of England is asking Napoleon and Caesar to calm down.

5. In the reception hall, you see and hear a Spanish guitarist, playing a beautiful piece of Spanish music.

6. In the lounge, you see it overrun with hamsters waving colourful feathers in their hands. (Hamsters = Amsterdam, feather-hands = Netherlands)

7. On the dining room table, you see a steaming pile of Brussels sprouts inside a huge golden bell. (Belgium, Brussels)

8. In the kitchen, visualise a group of pole vaulters practising their pole vaulting skills. (Pole-land)

9. At the back door, the Swedish pop group ABBA, are singing Dancing Queen to a bunch of dancing swedes.

10. Outside, imagine the whole of the Austrian alps have been somehow transplanted into the back garden of the house you are thinking of.

Then when you want to recall the countries, in your imagination you would see the above, as vividly as possible.

Test the Memory Palace technique

To recall the list of countries, picture the above scenarios in your mind:

1. Who drove up in the striped car outside the house? What country does it represent?

2. Who was the famous military commander on the driveway? Which country does he represent?

3. Which ancient emperor is in the front garden? What country does he represent?

4. Which current monarch is by the front door? What country is represented?

5. Who is playing what instrument in the front hall? What country does it represent?

6. What little animal is in the lounge and what do they have in their hands? What country does this represent?

7. What is on the dining room table? What country is represented?

8. What sports people are in the kitchen? What county do they represent?

9. Which pop group is singing by the back door? What country do they represent?

10. Which mountain range is in the back garden? Which country is represented?

Answers:

1. Merkel - Germany.

2. Napoleon - France.

3. Caesar - Italy

4. Queen Elizabeth - UK

5. Spanish Guitar - Spain.

6. Hamsters - Amsterdam, Netherlands.

7. Brussels sprouts in a bell - Belgium.

8. Pole vaulters - Poland.

9. ABBA and dancing swedes - Sweden.

10. Austrian alps - Austria.

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