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Introduction to Memory Techniques
Mnemonics are methods for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall. A very simple example of a mnemonic is the '30 days hath September' rhyme. The basic principle of mnemonics, is to use as many of the best functions of the human brain as possible to code information.
The human brain evolved to code and interpret complex stimuli - images, colour, structure, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, spatial awareness, emotion, and language - using them to make sophisticated interpretations of the environment. Human memory is made up of all these features.
Typically, however, information presented to be remembered is from one source - normally words on a page. While language, words on a page, reflects one of the most important aspects of human evolution, it is only one of the many skills and resources available to the human mind.
Using Your Whole Mind To Remember
Mnemonics seek to use all of these resources. By coding language and numbers in sophisticated, striking images which flow into other strong images, we can accurately and reliably code both information and the structure of information to be easily recalled later.
This section of Mind Tools seeks to show you the techniques that enable you to use all of your mind to remember information.
Layout of the Memory Techniques Section
The initial articles explain the fundamentals of use of mnemonics, and how to use them most effectively. These are complemented by general articles giving the essential background to the use of memory techniques.
The next section discusses many of the most effective memory techniques currently available. Many are quite simple and easy to understand and use. Others are more sophisticated, and require a significant investment of time before their huge potentials can be realized. Mind Tools will score these, indicating their relative power and difficulty. It is for you to use these indicators to select the most appropriate strategies for your use. The best approach to this area may be to visit it several times, learning a different memory technique on each visit, and applying and experimenting with it before returning on the next visit to learn a different technique.
The final section takes a functional approach to memory techniques, suggesting strategies to apply in various fields. Some techniques, particularly those relating to language acquisition, exam/subject study, and remembering names are truly remarkable and important. Others, such as the ability to remember the order of a pack of cards, are merely amusing sidelines (unless you are a keen card-player!).
Enjoy using Mind Tools memory techniques section: your use of your memory may well amaze you!