3 Ideas in 2 Minutes on Memorization Techniques
Hard to Remember, the Mind Palace & the SuperMemo Model
I. Hard to Remember
Why do we have difficulties remembering certain information? Intelligence analyst Richards Heuer explains how we usually try to commit things to long-term memory.
Take one minute to try to memorize the following items from a shopping list: bread, eggs, butter, salami, corn, lettuce, soap, jelly, chicken, and coffee. Chances are, you will try to burn the words into your mind by repeating them over and over. Such repetition, or maintenance rehearsal, is effective for maintaining the information in short term memory, but is an inefficient and often ineffective means of transferring it to long term memory. The list is difficult to memorize because it does not correspond with any schema [any pattern of relationships among data] already in memory.
—Richards Heuer, The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis
II. The Mind Palace
His Mind Palace is where Benedict Cumberbatch’s eccentric detective Sherlock Holmes retreats to when he tries to solve a case. It’s a modern spin on the character’s unique ability to remember details and notice patterns. Dr Watson explains:
It's a memory technique, a sort of a mental map. You plot a map with a location — it doesn't have to be a real place — and then you deposit memories there that, theoretically, you can never forget anything. All you have to do is find your way back to it.
—Dr Watson, Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville
I’ve written in detail about the real-life applications of this method in The Mind Palace Technique: How to Memorise Information Like Sherlock Holmes.
III. The Supermemo Model
The SuperMemo Model is a learning program that distinguishes between two components of our long-term memory: retrievability (how easily information can be remembered) and stability (how deeply a memory is embedded).
Suppose you were to learn my Top 25 Interesting Ideas and Concepts by heart. As soon as you’re done learning, the memory will inevitably fade over time. Unless you recall the information at specific intervals; after one, ten, thirty and sixty days. This carefully calibrated schedule for memory refreshment keeps you from forgetting what you once knew. The SuperMemo Model was developed by Piotr Wozniak, a Polish researcher.
Source: The Decision Book
Have a great week,
P.S.: Check out my latest post on 11 Informal Fallacies Worth Knowing and Avoiding.