Sunday, June 21, 2015

Seven Fabulous Memory Hacks - Braintenance - Douglas E. Castle

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The following fabulous memory hacks (I'm using the term "hacks" in the non-pejorative sense of the term) were recently described in an article by Bruce Price in the Blog “Mental_Floss” which I happened to stumble upon while casually surfing about the labyrinth of, well, StumbleUpon. While the original article listed “10 Mnemonic Tricks,” I found the first 7 of them to be worth sharing; the other three (probably added in the interest of making an even 10), where either impractical or (pun intended) unmemorable.

Use these as part of your memorization mastery regimen for better Braintenance, my dear Cranial Campers. But be advised that they are not substitutes for true native memory development – they are merely shortcuts where our underdeveloped memories would otherwise fail us. Those few of us blessed with eidetic or photographic memories may simply skim over this article rapidly.

1. The rhyme.

For hundreds of years, schoolchildren started the study of American history with: "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue."

2. The verbal gimmick.

Clearly, modern civilization would be impossible without these four words: "Spring forward. Fall back."

3. The poem.

Probably a million people every day resort to this famous six-liner:
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone:
Which hath but twenty-eight, we find,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.

4. The easy association.

Many people have trouble with these similar words —desertdessert — until they remember that when it comes to tasty treats like cake and ice cream, you always want an extra helping — just as the word itself has an extra s.

5. The contrived association.

The essential trick is to focus on something odd or funny, and use that to jog your memory. All the memory experts are doing this when they rattle off the names of many people: Bob is big and bald; Charlie has a chin as big as China. And so on.

These two words are killers: stalactitestalagmite. But stalag means prison; and mite suggests mighty. Clearly, a fortress solidly on the ground. So the other thing has to be hanging from the ceiling.

6. The acronym.

Suppose you have to buy three things: nails, plywood, and antifreeze. Use the initial letter of each item to create a word: PAN. Remember that. In the store, work in reverse, P-A-N, the letters reminding you what you have to buy.

HOMES is a famous example. It tells us our Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.

Almost as famous is Roy G. Biv, a phony name which tells the colors of the rainbow or spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).

7. Cross words.

Acrostics are another thing entirely. You don't create a new word, you create a memorable phrase or sentence. The first letter of each word stands for the things you're trying to remember. In smart schools, middle-schoolers are given the task of inventing mnemonics for the 8 planets:  My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus. Neptune).

The eight little bones in the wrist are a big task for anyone: Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetral, Pisiform, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, Hamate. The job is easier, or at least funnier, with this: Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can't Handle.

Med school is next to impossible without mnemonics. One of the most famous reveals the names of the nerves that come directly through the skull (not the spinal column): On Old Olympus' Towering Top, A Finn And German Vaulted And Hopped. (Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens, Facial, Auditory, Glossopharyngeal, Vagus, Accessory/Spinal, Hypoglossal.)

=> Well, ladies and gentlemen of the Limitless Mind Society, there you have them. Seven terrific memory hacks to supplement your memory development Braintenance exercises in those cases where rote memory is all that is required and where our internal arsenals have a bunch of IOUs where the best tools should be.

Thank you, as always for reading me.

Douglas E. Castle for The Braintenance Blog

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BRAINTENANCE: Train, Strain And Improve Your Brain. Expand Your Mind.

Braintenance contains articles, resources, exercises, games and specially-designed protocols to improve the power of your brain and your mind in every significant aspect, including memory, cognition, IQ, plasticity, creativity and problem-solving ability.

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