Ancient Orators Built Memory Palaces

The memory palace or mind palace technique is also called the method of loci. It seems to work because the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory, is also responsible for spatial reasoning. Many modern "memory masters" use this method as well, including Clemens Mayer, who once memorized 1,040 random digits in half an hour by visualizing a trip through his house.

Chester Santos
U.S. Memory Champion
How do you explain the "Mind Palace Technique" to people new to memory exercises?

You can think of the "Mind Palace Technique" as being a mental filing system. It involves simply creating a visual connection in your mind between locations that you know well and the information that you're trying to commit to memory. The technique originated with the Ancient Greeks and was known as the "Method of Loci" (loci means location).

What are some real-life scenarios where this technique can be used to help people?

This technique is a very powerful and effective mental filing system that's very easy to use. It can help people remember speeches/presentations, important facts/figures, medical/legal terminology, music theory, bible verses, poetry, geography, and just about anything else. You just need a little training in turning anything into a series of memory images.

Why do you think people are intimidated by being asked to remember things/memory training?

It's mainly because people think that it's difficult and or boring to commit things to memory. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth. With the right training in techniques like the Memory Palace, it's incredibly easy to remember just about anything at all, and the process can actually be a lot of fun!

For those curious about increasing their memory, how should they get started?

Learn a simple technique like the Memory Palace and start to use it to commit things to memory and recall them. The brain is incredibly trainable. Once you start to commit more and more things to memory and recall them, it will become easier and easier for you to commit anything to memory whenever you'd like. Learning to remember is a skill that anyone is capable of developing, but you have to learn the right techniques and then follow-up with practice just as you would with sports or music.

Constructing a Memory Palace - Epic Science #27

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The memory palace technique works well when you visualize a familiar space, such as your home. 00:43

  2. The brain remembers wacky or weird images more easily. 00:55

  3. People who can perform extraordinary feats of memory tend to rely on spatial memory more than the average person. 02:32

Written by Curiosity Staff June 18, 2015

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