Otherwise known as the ‘Method of Loci’, the mind palace technique is arguably the most famous form of memory enhancement known to us. Featured in multiple films and television series, and revolutionised in Sherlock, the method traces it’s heritage back to the time of the Roman Empire. The technique can be used to recall faces, lists, and a number of other facts.
This mnemonic technique relies on two factors: visualisation and spatial comprehension. Whilst many examples of ‘Method of Loci’ involve simple imagery, an argued advantage of variations of the Mind Palace is that individual areas can be assigned certain topics or themes in order to achieve a more efficient system of fi ling and an easier method for long-term memory storage. Nonetheless, whether your visualisation is a castle, a town, or even the Amory Building (my sincere condolences), a coherent layout is a necessity for this technique to work. Once you have designed the layout of your haven, you will need to map a route. Keep it simple and keep to it every time, in order to ensure that you get used to your new palace.
Route mapped? Good. Now identify the rooms or buildings you want to use. Ideally, neighbouring rooms should be thematically similar to each other in order to prevent excessive complexity. Work out how many you’ll need and take size into account; the bigger the room, the more important the memory. It’s likely that the dress your friend wore on 23 March is less important than their favourite sitcom, so make sure that the room reflects this, which again is likely less important than their partner’s name. If you decide to simply assign a one per- son-one room rule, then ensure that the same law applies with- in the individual rooms. Got that? Good. Now memorise the entire construct. Memorise all of the necessary details in order to retain consistency and avoid confusion, lest you end up going down the wrong corridor.
‘be creative with your approach, and don’t be afraid to use mnemonics’
However, you should never overcomplicate matters. Keep the information in each room/building etc. limited and don’t let similar topics converge. Keep them separate, lest you mix your memories up. Be creative with your approach, and don’t be afraid to use mnemonics. If you need to learn the order of notes in the treble clef, then imagine a child playing football in a garden (Every Good Boy Deserves Football – EGBDF). Once you’ve done this, feel free to go wild, and continue to explore it. Use it on a constant basis in order to preserve the design; being lackadaisical with your Palace is the easiest way to cause it to crumble.
World Memory Champion Competitor Ed Cooke has constantly recommended to new competitors to make their memories as outlandish and vulgar as possible, in order to ensure that the memory sticks. The more repulsed you are, the more effective it will be. 2006 World Memory Champion, Clemens Mayer from Germany, used a 300-point-long journey through his house for his world record in “number half marathon”, where he memorised 1040 digits in a half-hour. With practice, it is estimated that an ordinary person using the method of loci can remember an entire deck of cards through very little practice. Just don’t tell the street magicians.