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An Ancient and Proven Way to Improve Memorization, Themba Tutors
????? ???, ????? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ????, ????? ???? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?? ?? my New Year s resolution, and so far I ve stuck to it.

?? ??? ??? ?? ???????? ??? ??? ???????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ???

The Rhetori??? ???????? Herennium, written in the ?? ?????? ???? ?????? 80 ?.??., ?? ???? ????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???. (It s also the oldest surviving Latin book on rhetoric.) It teaches the method of loci, also known as the memory palace. As its names suggest, the approach involves associating the ideas or objects to be memorized with memorable scenes imagined to be at well-known locations ( loci ), like one s house ( palace ) or along a familiar walking route.

You can test the method for yourself. If you re like most people, you would not easily commit to long-term memory a 10-item shopping list. But I bet you could remember it and for more than a few minutes if you first visualized it along a walk through your house: The entryway of your house is festooned with ?????? ????; ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???????, ??? ??? ??; ????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??; ???? ?????? ?? ???????? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ??????? ???? ?????? ??? ???; ???? ????? ???? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???????? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ????; ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ?? lasagna ?????? ?? ??? ????? ????? ?? ????; ?? ??? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ??? ??; ?? ???? ????? ???????? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?????; ??????? ?? ?? ??? ????? ???? ???? ??? ????? ???

Take a few moments to burn these images and locations into your mind (adding motion, sounds, smells and tactile sense to your imagined scenes helps). We ll test your memory with an imaginary trip to the grocery store at the end of this article.

????? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???? ???????? ???????? ??????? ?????? ??????????? ????? ?? ??? ????????? ????. He points out that we re so good at forming mental maps and recalling images that we hardly notice it. Recall the last party you attended at a home you had not previously visited. Though you probably only walked through the house a few times, you can probably remember most or all of its layout and location of major furniture. Anything else distinctive you saw like unusual or appealing pieces of art, vivid wall colors and the faces of people you met are probably also easy to recall. Effortlessly, you retained hundreds or thousands of visual memories and spatial details.

??? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ????, ?????? ??? ???? ??? ????, ?? ?? ?????? ?? 80 ??????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????????? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ????? ?? ?? (???? ?? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???????)? ?? ?? ?????? found people could usually recall objects they d seen even after seeing hundreds of intervening ones, demonstrating that visual memories of objects are stored long-term.

?? ??? ??? ??? ??, ??, ?? ?? ??????, ????? ????? ???, ???????? ???? ?? ???? ???????? ??? ????? ???? ??. Using the approach, people who could remember only a handful of numbers ??? ?? ????? ??, give or take a few 80 ?? 90 ?? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ?????????? ???? ???.

?? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ?? ?? ?? ?? 11 12 ?????? ?? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ??????????? ????????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ????? ???????? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ???????? ???? ?? ?????????? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????? ???? ??, ?? ????? ?? ????? ??? ???? ?????

Patients who have had treatments known to impair recall and cognitive function like ??????? ?????? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ?????????? improved their memories with the method of loci. As a memory aid, it s ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ?????????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ??.

Before books were common, the method of loci helped lawyers and others retain and recall information necessary for their jobs. The locution in the first place ?? ??????? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ?? of memorizing speeches. It works because it harnesses humans ?????? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ???, ????? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????

It does not take an extraordinary mind to develop an extraordinary memory. Competitors in memory championships or those seen on Fox s Superhuman memory athletes weren t born with photographic memories. They have practiced for years ???? ?? ???? ?? ????? ??, ?? ??? ????????? ???? ??? ???? ????????? ?????? ???? ???, ??? ??? ?? ???? ??? hundreds of random numbers in a few minutes or the order of cards in a deck in tens of seconds. But, as Mr. Foer learned, memory athletes memories excel only in areas they ve trained they still misplace their keys like the rest of us.

?????? ???, ??????? ?????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??????? ????????? ?? ??? ??????? ????? the same hardware running different software. Brain anatomy of memory athletes and those without exceptional memories ???? ???? ??????? ???????? ????? ??? ?? ???????? ?? ??????, ?????? ??????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?????????? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ???????? ???? in doing so. But recall of magnified images of snow crystals for which memory athletes have not trained is identical. After observing a game for five or 10 seconds, master chess players can recall the positions of nearly all the pieces. A novice can recall only a few. ???? ????????? ????????? ?????? ???? ??? ??????? ?? ?? ????????? ??????? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??????? ???? ?? ???? ??, ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????????? ?? ????? ???? ????

My commute has become my memory palace, not for groceries, but for aspects of my work. Features of certain landmarks specific houses and parks I pass have become loci for them, converted to images and scenes of my own invention. I figuratively walk through my work as I literally walk to it. For example, I associated an analysis of the time patients wait for care with cars waiting at an intersection I cross.

???? ???? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?????????, ???? ??? because we ve been taught to do it by rote. You may recall, as I do, countless hours in third grade poring over multiplication tables or, in ninth grade, endlessly conjugating French (or Spanish) verbs, or in 11th grade, incessantly reciting Macbeth s Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow soliloquy in the attempt to firmly place them in long-term memory. These brute-force approaches are dull because they re devoid of any creativity.

???? ??????, ??????????? ?????????? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ???? ?????????, ???????, ????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ????? (?? ???? ???????) ?? ???? ???? ???? ???????, the more easily they re recalled. This is why the ?????? ?? ??????????? ?? from the method of loci they knew students were relying on impure and idolatrous imagery and it fell out of favor as an educational tool. Today our memories are eroded by external memory devices like cellphone cameras and apps.

Now, about that grocery list. In your mind, enter and walk back through your house. What do you see Can you get all 10 items

(Separately, we ve created a short interactive quiz that tests your memory. ????? ?? ???.)

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