Advanced memorization systems and memory sports

Superlearning or speedreading are hard to measure and monitor. Memory is easily measurable, and therefore memorization skills are a sport. The best thing about sports is our ability to learn which methods work better than others to remember a huge amount of information. Moreover, as sport develops, the methods become increasingly elaborate.

  1. Memory palace/loci. This is probably the oldest and most popular memory method and it allows handling immense amounts of information very accurately. Adepts of this method travel around to create ever larger and elaborate memory palaces and floorplans. Our friend Anthony Metivier calls this method: “apartments with compartments”.  You generate large and complex spaces and find a proper compartment for everything.
  2. Major system/dominic method. We have major system due to middle ages. The crazy visualization that is so useful for loci was considered a sin by some nuns, who developed a more civilized system. In major system each compartment is marked by letters that sound like whatever we need to learn. A combination of Major system and Loci, called “Dominic system” was successfully used by 8-time world champion Dominic O’Brien.
  3. PAO (person-action-object).  It is much easier to follow a plot if it has a hero. PAO is such a method, where hundreds of heros perform extreme deeds. Many recent world champions used this method. While my personal achievements are humble, I also use a version of this method for my personal needs.
  4. Mnemonic peg system. There is only so much information we can put in each visualization. To track the order of visualization, it is useful to have a peg system. While we do not recommend to use the peg system as the main tool in your arsenal, a modest peg system of 9 pegs automatically increases your capacity by 1000%. Some champions use either pairs of pegs in 1-100 range, effectively having 10000 pegs at any given time.
  5. Mindmaps/linking. Anna used to teach peg system as the basic method for remembering text, but eventually she switched to more flexible mindmaps. Mindmaps are great for speed and for analyzing text, but they do not scale well to hundreds of links. I use my own version of mindmapping to handle more data. Please notice that advanced chunking should be used with proper mindmapping.

The exact memory method chosen for personal use is not effective if you do not practice it all the time. To this end memory sportsmen practice 4-8 hours per day. If you do not want to be a sportsman, 10-20 min per day will do. Keep practicing 🙂






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4 Replies to “Advanced memorization systems and memory sports”

    1. In this particular article, I do not get into the details of pegs.
      Since it was written, we replaced simple pegs with PAO.
      You have 10 words for a person, 10 words for an action and 10 words for an object corresponding to numbers 0-9.
      Then a person doing an action with an object corresponds to a number between 0 and 999.
      Make this PAO object the first object of your memory palace and you have enumerated 1000 palaces.

    1. Thank you. This is very personal. Some people spend many hours training one particular skill, others distribute training between various methods, I find that I have fun creating new methods perfectly tailored for specific tasks. People are different, and each one has his/hers own personal style.

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