Build your memory

Author: Mark D’Arcy

A summary of the ways memories are formed and useful systems to improve your ability to memorise.  The sections on pegging to remember long lists of numbers and creating memory palaces are particularly useful and work (I’ve seen my brother remember Pi to 100 decimal places using this system)

To form memories:
1. Observation: distinction seeing & observing
2. Association: with a committed memory
3. Visualisation: text dry, images vibrant

Process of memorising:
1. Registering of info by 5 senses
2. Interpretation/understanding by the brain
3. Temporary storage – short term memory
4. Transfer short to long term – make permanent record 

Chpt 1. How your memory operates
Primacy effect: more readily recall info learnt at beginning
Regency effect: info at end more readily recalled than middle
Optimum: first and last 10mins => 20min periods with 5 min break

State dependent learning: study showed indiv under influence of alcohol more readily recall events whilst in similar state 
-> provides context for learning can be internal (drunk) or external (music)

Chpt 2. Why we forget
Amnesia: damage to the brain
     a. Retrograde: lose memories before damage took place
     b. Anterograde: lose ability to form new memories (often from hypocampus damage)
          -> Korsakoff’s syndrome: long term thiamine deficiency (alcoholics) => hypocampus damage and anterograde amnesia
Repression: motivated forgetting esp of childhood
Interference: one memory blocks another
     a. Proactive: memory interferes with the formation of new
     b. Reactive: new memory interferes with old

Chpt 3. Observation and memory
The most important aspect of memory is observation
     -> ‘Spain in the spring’
Make a conscious effort to observe

Chpt 4. How to link together memories
Memory operates by associating or linking, one piece of info w/ another
Effective linking:
     + Illuminate: bright and colourful e.g. pink elephant, blue dog
     + Exaggerate the proportions
     + Include sensations: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste
     + Strangeness is memorable
     + Numbers make an impression: one gorilla vs. many
     + Movement: parked car vs. car screeching round the corner
Memories degrade over time – must review

5. How to master a foreign language

6. How to remember #
Number rhyme system:
0 – snow
1 – sun
2 – shoe
3 – sea
4 – door
5 – hive
6 – sticks
7 – heaven
8 – gate
9 – mine

7. How to remember your dreams
Dreams: remember when awoken during REM
Why?: a. to organise b. to symbolise
Remember dreams
     1. Take 3-4 images that most stand out
     2. Link in imaginative & creative way
     3. Link to familiar object e.g. bedside lamp

8. How to remember # – pegging
     – Stanislaw von Wennschein, 1648
     – Dr Richard Gray
     -Harry Lorayne 
Pegging – turn any # into set phonetic sounds or letter -> words -> images
     1. Memorise basic phonetic sounds for 0-9
     2. Memorise 99# and their images

9. How to remember quotations
A. Take key words
B. Turn to images and link
C. Read through a a few times

10. How to remember abstract symbols and letters
A. Alphabet system
B. Picture / symbol system

11. The Roman room system
Familiar room/house using items such as pegs and imagining happenings e.g. child’s birthday 

12. How to remember names and faces
A. The observational system: give name meaning by breaking it down e.g. Rose hen burg
B. The association system: link name to physical feature e.g. dimple on chin

13. How to remember appointments
The mental diary:
– Assign each day of the week with a peg #
– Gives times peg words (minutes in case in flames)

14. The mental database, how to combine the systems
Use of super pegs

15. Study methods
Eat 30 mins before, don’t be too full, nothing too stodgy