Our memory is so bad —our mind SO full of images, emails, to-do’s, errands, ideas — that we are always on the lookout for techniques to help us remember a fact, name or list. We love memory champion Joshua Foer‘s demonstration of the ancient technique of using a memory palace or Method of loci. You memorize information by placing each item or detail at a point along an imaginary journey through a house or other familiar space. We found it both useful and charming.
First of all, it works and is curiously fun.
In this technique the subject memorizes the layout of some building, or the arrangement of shops on a street, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember a set of items the subject ‘walks’ through these loci in their imagination and commits an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any feature of that locus. Retrieval of items is achieved by ‘walking’ through the loci, allowing the latter to activate the desired items.*
Just think of the possible imaginal spaces you could store memories in: dream homes (mid-century perhaps), doll houses, even the Palace of Versailles.