Is creating a story effective?

Many of our students ask: is creating a story effective? More advanced students ask: is Roman palace memory technique effective? If you are looking for simple low-level visualization, you may enjoy these well-known techniques. Below are some examples of real conversations we had in our course with examples of visual markers.

Question:

For the game you have posted for this chaper I do the following. I feel its not quite what you suggest but find it really hard to make markers for the objects in the game using one to two words.

My example… (the BOLD being the words to remember)

I enter my kitchen, step on the floor covered in 10c COINS, I see a giant PINEAPPLE chopping up rotten TOMATOES, I hear this horrible yelping midget DOG spot a LEMON and throw it to shut it up but it breaks the Japanese porcelain FIGURINE which was hopping around the lounge like a RABBIT. etc etc…

is that sort of thing useful or is it too much work, should really be condensing it down? I have used this technique to memorize lists and lists of stuff in previous attempts at improving memory, but I am not sure if that will work for what we are doing here.

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks

Answer:

  • There are many methods for remembering stuff. The story method is very useful if you have very high density of information, however it is a bit slow. Try actually visualizing stuff to remove vocalization and improve speed of learning. For example, I often create visualized comics, e.g. quickly changing chains of images that have certain story behind them.

  • As Dr. Gold mentioned, it is very effective, as you said it works well for lists and things you have to remember. However for reading it will indeed prove way too slow. Still, if you have to remember a lecture and go on stage, this is a great way to remember the key points. In fact, one of the Ted talks we link to discusses this exact technique.

    Bryan McIntyre  (student)

    OK cool, I guess my thoughts then are that I can create images for the different things such as dart board, white cat, etc, good markers for them, but without that story i was creating I find it difficult to link them all together enough that one leads to the other.

    If I can clarify the comic idea, that would be taking a marker say for the dart board which for me would be a mate playing darts in my garage and him losing constantly and the dispair in his voice, taking that image and giving it a link to say a white dog which my marker would be my pet dog max. I can link these two together as I lived with my mate before but do i need to do that extra link? Is just the two markers I have described enough linkage to keep them all in the mind?

    Always link, if you have time make more than one link. The links allow navigation between markers, like between pages on a website.

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