The Method of Loci
Summary of the Memory Recall
Our brain is like a muscle. We can train it to memory recall with utmost efficiency. There are many ways of doing that. Here’s one that the world swears by: the method of Loci (or place) will help you hold on to what you learn and remember it faster, and this has been in practice since the Roman age, and it was invented even before that by the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos. Yes, this isn’t history class, but it’s fun to know! The method of loci is the most famous mnemonic technique in the world. You should know about it.
The word loci comes from Latin, literally translating to places or locations. The Romans used the method to memorize long speeches. People who enter memory competitions practice with the help of this technique because of its guaranteed results, and it’s backed by science. You, as a student, can use it too.
Rest assured knowing that this technique is highly researched. In a nutshell, this technique relies on linking objects to places you know really well, places you’re familiar with without making an effort to remember them. First, let’s touch upon the science of it. Science-backed? Checked!
Homo Sapiens as a species evolved to remember physical objects and locations since our hunting and gathering days. Our survival kind of depended on it. The method of loci uses this evolutionary trait to its advantage.
This technique turns what you’re trying to learn into a physical entity/object. Ever wonder why it’s easier to locate houses, cars, malls, or even phones once you’ve seen it? Ever wondered why we have such a hard time remembering more than 5 phone numbers at one go. There has to be a reason, right? Here’s the reason: because there is no physical association with the numbers. It’s detached from anyway of associating it with time and place or space. That’s why the method of loci turns what you want to learn into a physical entity so that you can remember as quickly as when you saw the Macbook Pro. It’ll help you ace the K11 exam or any other exam you’re preparing for.
How You Can Get Started
You can already practice on this website with a deck of cards after you’re done learning about it. First, check how many cards you can remember without the technique. Remember to turn them face back once you think you have it in memory. Then, check how many cards you can remember with the technique.
The Technique Revisited
Now, get started. Create a memory palace in your mind of any place you know really well: a house, a road, an office building, or even a gym. This should be a physical location in your brain that you can imagine right now. I’m imagining my home at the moment. Be sure to pick a place familiar to you.
Now, I’ve turned the king of clubs into my butler in my house. He just came to wake me up. That’s how I choose to remember my first card and the other cards will follow a similar pattern. The 7 of diamonds becomes my diamond-studded watch I wear after going to the washroom. The queen of hearts turns into my mother calling me on my smartphone that’s lying on my bedside table. Once I make my way outside my room, I meet my roommate, the 8 of spades.
Then I go to my kitchen and make 5 farm fresh eggs to associate it with the 5 of hearts. My father, the king of spades, tells me to make him 3 omelettes with extra cheese and butter (with reference to the 3 of clubs). And there you have it. We just covered the seven cards on display. Be honest about which technique helped you memory recall better.
There You Have It
You just created a mind map to remember things you might not have grasped on the first try, when it comes to memory recall. You’ll have a much better time memorizing this way than randomly cramming facts in your head.
The Application of This Memory Recall Technique in Exercise Science
Create the same mind map but think of 4 friends living in a house with 4 rooms. The name of this house is quadriceps. In the biggest room, rectus femoris lives. As for the room in the middle, vastus intermedius lives. In the rooms to the sides, vastus medialis and vastus lateralis live happily hypertrophy after.
Here’s another way of thinking about it.
For starters, think of all the muscles as pieces to a puzzle known as quadriceps. As a result, the rectus femoris is the piece that goes right in the middle. The vastus intermedius goes directly underneath it. The vastus lateralis and medialis are the pieces that join from the sides. And there you have it. You just created the quadriceps muscle group!
Conclusions: Memory Recall
The application of this learning technique is manifold. You can use it to remember a concept while studying or you can even use it to remember names of muscle groups or even a grocery list. Also, the order in which you place the objects should be similar to the order of the objects that appear in front of you: grocery list or remembering how many rotator cuffs we have. Moreover, the point of this article is not to train you immediately; it’s to help make you aware of all the tools you have under your belt to help you retain more of what you’re trying to memorize. So, go forth and research about it. It’s compelling stuff!
Rahul Chitrakar: K11 School of Fitness Sciences