Memory Exercises

Ever see one of those magician shows where the guy will memorise a whole bunch of random things and then recall them a while later in order, or reverse order, or do some other amazing memory demonstration? I attempted to learn some of the mnemonic tricks to it a while back and sucked at it. I recently rekindled my interest in it after discovering a set of simple tutorials on the web. You can check them out for yourself here.

The first exercise is a mechanism for remembering a list of things in order. You link them together in your mind by picturing them in an absurb way and creating a relationship between them, also absurd. The absurdity helps to make them more memorable. I find this process relatively simple, and I’m pleasantly surprised how well it works. It’s really easy to remember 10 objects in order (and reverse order!) using this method.

I’ve resolved to practice it every day for 30 days. I’m hoping that it’ll become second nature and so I’ll be able to quickly set up the relationship chain for when I have to remember a list of things. I’m planning to move to more abstract things on day 15 once the basics are well established.

Today’s list, which I memorised in under 30 seconds around 9am, is:

  • Camel
  • Bat
  • Telephone
  • Pencil
  • Watch
  • Foot
  • Elephant
  • Nametag
  • Glasses
  • Book

This is only the most simple use of the tool, but it’s still exciting to have it work. I never would have been able to memorise that list without it.

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