The Location Memory Technique can be an effective tool to help you memorize many unrelated items. The Location Memory Technique connects the unrelated ideas we want to remember by using memorable locations to fix the facts or ideas in our memory in a spatial relationship. This technique is especially useful because you can memorize any items in exact order.
We know from recent hemispheric brain research that our brains act as computer file folders, slotting newly learned information in the same file as already-learned information that fits within that same file. This technique connects ideas or items together, just like our brain file folders do. If we take the time to organize new information in same way as our brains, we can improve our retention of that information.
The ancient Greek orators such as Socrates made use of a special memory trick that deals with familiar object locations. The Greeks would think of taking a tour of their own homes, beginning in the entryways. For each room of the house, they would picture a key word of what they were trying to remember on or next to a special object in that room. Connecting the unknown (key words) to the known (the floor plan of your house) helps place the key words into your long term memory.
Picture the floor plan of your house or apartment. Visualize a clockwise walk throughout your home, beginning in the entryway. For each room, picture the key word, or concrete object, on or next to an especially memorable object in that room. Substitute concrete objects for any key words that are too abstract to remember well. For example, substituting the concrete “bulging bicep” for the abstract strength would be a much more memorable object to picture in your dining room.
Let’s say you want to memorize the “Preamble to the Constitution.”
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Key words memorized in order will help prompt your memory. The key words are not necessarily the most important words. The are the words that will best prompt your memory of the following line(s). In the “Preamble to the Constitution,” the key words might include the following: people, in order, justice, ensure, defense, general, blessings, ordain, for
Using the location strategy, you might picture your entire family, linking arms together, in the entryway of your house (people). Next, picture a playing card royal flush (A, K, Q, J, 10) in order on the couch in your living room (in order). Then, picture a bright blue law book on the table in your dining room (justice). Now, picture a can of Ensure® nutritional supplement on top of the refrigerator in your kitchen (ensure). After this, picture a white picket fence surrounding the beanbag chair in your family room (defense). Then, picture a GI-Joe® general saluting you on top of the thermostat in the hallway (general). Next, picture yourself sneezing and then saying “God bless me” on top of the yellow desk in the front bedroom (blessings). After this, picture a waiter asking, “May I take your order?” while standing on top of the dresser in the middle bedroom (ordain). Finally, picture a florescent orange “four” on the locked door of the back master bedroom (for).
Now prompt yourself to remember each fact by consciously picturing the items in each room. Close your eyes, if it helps. Practice walking through your apartment or home and picturing the exact location of each item to place them into your long-term memory.
Got them? The images will stick with you for as long as you need them. A little rehearsal will keep what you are trying to memorize stay in your memory banks.
Memorizing using the Location Memory Technique will enable you to retain the memory of many seemingly unrelated items. Useful for upcoming tests, speeches, scripts, poems, essays, lectures? Undoubtedly.
For more free teaching resources, check out Mark’s website at penningtonpublishing.com.