Mnemonic devices are techniques a person can use to help them improve their ability to remember something. In other words, it’s a memory technique to help your brain better encode and recall important information.
Memorization is the process of committing something to memory. Mental process undertaken in order to store in memory for later recall items such as experiences, names, appointments, addresses, telephone numbers, lists, stories, poems, pictures, maps, diagrams, facts, music or other visual, auditory, or tactical information.
‘Mnemonic’ is another word for memory tool. Mnemonics are techniques for remembering information that is otherwise quite difficult to recall: A very simple example is the ’30 days hath September’ rhyme for remembering the number of days in each calendar month.
The idea behind using mnemonics is to encode difficult-to-remember information in a way that is much easier to remember.
Using Your Whole Mind to Remember
The key idea is that by coding information using vivid mental images, you can reliably code both information and the structure of information. And because the images are vivid, they are easy to recall when you need them.
The techniques explained later on in this section show you how to code information vividly, using stories, strong mental images, familiar journeys, and so on.
You can do the following things to make your mnemonics more memorable:
Use positive, pleasant images. Your brain often blocks out unpleasant ones.
Use vivid, colorful, sense-laden images – these are easier to remember than drab ones.
Use all your senses to code information or dress up an image. Remember that your mnemonic can contain sounds, smells, tastes, touch, movements and feelings as well as pictures.
- Give your image three dimensions, movement and space to make it more vivid. You can use movement either to maintain the flow of association, or to help you to remember actions.
- Exaggerate the size of important parts of the image.
- Use humor! Funny or peculiar things are easier to remember than normal ones.
- Similarly, rude rhymes are very difficult to forget!
- Symbols (red traffic lights, pointing fingers, road signs, etc.) can code quite complex messages quickly and effectively.