Memory Improvement Technique

The ancient Romans and Greeks placed tremendous demands on the memory. Lawyers and politicians were expected to memorize long, complex arguments and deliver them impeccably, while poets delivered epic works orally as a type of theater (in fact Homer was most likely illiterate).

In order to accomplish these tasks, the ancients used a memory improvement technique discovered by the Greek poet Simonides:

Although the method may seem peculiar at first, any person can use it to improve their recollection of anything, from shopping lists to lecture outlines. Once you find a way to “see” the items you must remember, you can use the trick on different strings of information.

The mnemonic device, known as the loci method, involves placing mental pictures of items in specific locations inside a room, in a specific order. A person can then “walk” through the room and see all the objects that must be recalled. Each person must develop his or her own locational system. Teachers in antiquity recommended using public places such as temples or meeting houses as sites for spatial memory training; an individual would stand inside a temple and memorize the position of each column and statue, from the main entrance, along the right wall, across the front, back down the left wall, and so on. Each item from a list would then be assigned to a column, statue or other feature, in a given order. Later, the memorizer would visualize the room to find each item.

The articles goes on to provide some practical examples for putting the technique to use in your own life. There is also an interesting back story about the technique’s original discovery.

A Memory Improvement Technique from the Greeks and Romans [SciAm] (via SharpBrains)

15 Responses to Memory Improvement Technique

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  2. I have heard of this technique before. It’s like creating a route in your mind and assigning specific items to specific symbols. In fact, Andi Bell who is also known as “The Amazing Memory Man,” uses this very same technique to memorize the order or 520 cards in only 20 minutes!

  3. T. says:

    It’s called the method of Loci. See the Wikipedia article at

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  5. This is great! I have ADD and this will help out alot. Thanks again.


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  8. Zachary says:

    There are many wonderful techniques like this available. I took an online course that not only taught me a range of techniques(both old and proven, and new techniques alike), but helped me to develop the visual ability, attention-stability, mental health, and motivation to be able to sit down and memorize anything I want. I can now memorize complicated textbooks, retain the original order of information, and reproduce it forward or backward. You can see some of what I’m currently memorizing at my blog.

    I’ve looked at many, many different approaches to improving my memory, and I’m convinced I’ve found the best approach. It’s not a magic bullet, or a book you can just read. It’s a course that guides you as you develop all the skills you need to be able to memorize anything you want :)

    I’m always happy to talk to anyone about memory improvement.

  9. Hi,I am already falling in love with your there a way we can work together to achieve success.

  10. The Loci method is an oldie but goodie! For more, check out .

  11. Great resource. I really enjoyed your site!

  12. Thanks for Informative Post,
    @T. thanks for providing such a helpful link for this topic.

  13. Thedynasty77 says:

    really interesting to know a bit about the history of the usage of some of the memory improvement techniques.

    Owner of “Designing effective memory improvement email free courses. Join us to receive your free memory improvement email course today”

  14. One of the mose effective things you can do to get your memory improved is by ensuring that you get 8 hours of rest everyday.

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