Alternatives to visual markers

Some of our students really struggle creating visual markers. Visualization is easy for most of us, but hard for some people. There are effective alternatives for visualization which we offer to students with uncommon set of abilities. These alternatives are more complex to use, but they may make the difference between learning and superlearning.

I’m having a huge difficult to create mental markers. Is it normal? I take around 20 or 30 seconds to create a simple mental marker. Do you know another good way to help me?

Everything is slow at first, but if it does not improve with training, you need to change something. After some training mental markers should appear very fast [~100msec per marker]. It is like looking at clouds and saying “this cloud looks like a dog” or looking at a person and think “with this prolonged face and low personal hygiene he looks like a rat”. There are people who cannot generate visual association and need to use different methods. Usually this is quite rare, less than 1% of the students. If this is your case, you will need to schedule a Skype meeting with Anna to hand-pick the methodology [email to [email protected]].

Below I will try to outline some of the methods we can examine:

1. Verbal markers.  

I am exercising daily and I discovered a new problem. When I read I skim most of the words and subvocalized one.
Example: “I went home”
I just subvocalize home and totally forget of the other words. It happens even if I count the numbers aloud. Can we address this problem in our next lesson?
 Some markers are visual, but some are auditory. You can use both type of markers. If you use auditory markers, something like 5% of the words are vocalized, but they are vocalized as a part of markers creation. In fact maybe you can use this feature to improve your retentions of the markers…
The issue here is the brainpower it takes: all the other words do not become markers. To solve this problem use double encoding method. When you vocalize home, try at the same time to imagine a specific home, where all other words become home’s attributes.


2. Personal markers. 

Eduardo Pagels

I am a salesman. On my strengths, I can tell you that I’m very communicative and I learn very fast… On my weakness, I’m good creating stories, but not creating images.

Dr. Lev Gold

Usually I recommend not to use stories, since stories are slow. However in some rare cases creating stories is much faster than anything else we try. Some of our students are “people persons” and their associations are always personal. In this case we recommend to imagine that something happened to one person or another and use people as markers – it could be the people you know, but better if these are totally imaginary personages.

3. Memory palace /loci method

Dr. Lev Gold

This is the basic method, that was developed in Ancient Greece and is mentioned in every book on memory. Personally I do not like it, since it assumes passive placement of objects in some imaginary environment. The most common memory complaint is “I do not remember where I put my keys”, and now you need to retrieve a whole palace of goodies. However some people are exceptionally good in spatial orientation and find it very easy to remember whole cities. In this case – go ahead and utilize your superskill for the mental markers.

4. Color/emotional markers

For advanced students I always recommend to add emotional context, tone, ambience or colour scheme to the experience. I will further describe colour in a different post, here I will describe more the criteria guiding the choice of the proper emotion.
Emotional connection to imagery

When forming an image in the mind and associating emotion to it to create a full story, which do you find works better: tying happiness, which seems to happen more often and could become familiar, or sadness, which happens less often but could have more recall ability?

This is an interesting question. Probably everything works, but optimization is really tricky.

When you try to read fast the optimization is speed: whatever comes first.

When you try to remember everything the optimization is uniqueness: generate the strongest most unique feelings.

When you need the information to be readily available for longterm use the optimization is for linkage: try to form several unique associations and verify that you can get from the association to the data and back again.

When you remember a lot of information, you typically want the associations to be tuned to the same emotional key.

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