Examining the ancient technique of "memory palaces" with brain-imaging

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/10/memory-palaces.html

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There’s a great book on this technique called: “The Art Of Memory” by Frances Yates.


But what if I only have a small apartment?


I was wondering if/when somebody would get around to trying such an analysis.

Not to be confused with the memory theatre.

I actually have something relevant about this stored in my memory palace. Of course, it’s more like a memory duplex, and I’m kind of a hoarder.

So, it’s going to take me awhile to figure out if what I’m trying to remember is under the mountain of OMNI magazines in the corner or on top of every Lego set I’ve ever built…


Great book. Another amazing book on that subject is The Memory Code by Lynne Kelly. You can learn those memory techniques and train with them on Memory League for free.

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Thats what I have a smartphone for …

A question for any of the several people on this thread who’ve tinkered with memory palaces:

Are they of any use for language learning? That’s the only thing in my life where I have a real need to retain a lot of memorised information.

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it’s a different use case - that remembering the conjugation of ‘attendre’ is not the same as remembering the height of Mount Everest - but I’d be happy to hear otherwise.

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I have (unknowingly) used a variation of this when interacting with extreme gaslighting from a pair of unsavory characters.

There were four lights, between my house and the coffee shop where I lived then.

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Five lights and you can eat.

The memory palace technique is really good for reproducing an arbitrary string of random items in the intended order. Good for memorising the digits of pi, for delivering a long speech without notes (that being its purpose in the classical era), and for winning Memory Championships.


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