We rely on technology for almost everything these days. If we have a doubt we look on wikipedia, if we don’t remember the title of a song we shazam it, and so on. The result is that our memory does not train, and when we really need it we find ourselves in trouble. Fortunately, there are so many techniques for memorizing who can help us!
Memory is still important!
Have you ever read Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”? IS a beautiful dystopian novel about the importance of knowledge, centered around the concept that the freedom of the human being resides in the capacities of his mind and in his memory.
But beyond the fantasy of great literature, it is true that memory makes us free, and more! Our ethical convictions, our professionalism, the idea we have of the world and our sense of justice, our own personality it is based on the knowledge we have internalized. Which we remember.
Studying is not a boring school activity: it shapes the people we are, it makes us unique!
Of course, so far everything is beautiful… but be able to remember what you study is quite another thing! We all had our difficulties at school, until, someone before and someone else after, we developed our study method: basically we worked out our technique!
Everyone has their own, but the techniques for memorizing are a real field of study and professional application. The courses to increase memory are many and very popular, a sign that the idea that memory is really important has not gone out of fashion at all!
There are some techniques to memorize within everyone’s reach that can help you boost your mind! Here are the four most effective and widespread.
1 – PAV, the Vivid-Action-Paradox
Among the techniques to memorize, the PAV it is considered the basic one. Not because it is simpler than the others, but because by mastering it it will be much easier to acquire the mechanisms of the other more complex techniques.
Furthermore, the PAV has the advantage of being able to be applied in everyday life without particular difficulties.
The PAV is based on the assumption that for memorize whatever we must first mentally transform it into an image. Our brains tend to work much more effectively when recalling images to store information more easily. The more the image we associate with information strikes us, the more easily we will memorize the information.
We must therefore create a Paradox, an image as distant as possible from reality, to remember it as easily as possible.
This paradoxical image, then, must have an Action: our brain more easily stores moving images rather than static images.
Finally, the moving image we build in the mind it must be Vivid: involving our senses to make us feel immersed in the scene.
Let’s take an example.
Let’s suppose we have to remember to buy a celery stalk for dinner, and we elaborate an image to help us.
We can imagine that it is the celery stalk that we buy: this is the Paradox.
The celery stalk comes home shaking the shopping bag that contains us back and forth: this is theAction.
Our weight, however, is too much for a small stalk of celery, which at one point succumbs and breaks into “craaaak”! This is the aspect Vivid, which involves our hearing.
2 – Phonetic conversion.
More than one, phonetic conversion consists of a series of techniques for store numbers. It is based on the association of a consonant sound to each number from 0 to 9, so that each number sequence can be converted into words or even sentences.
Complex? No: words and phrases correspond to images, help yourself using the PAV.
Another phonetic conversion system, less articulated but more immediately usable is the so-called Rhyme system. It consists of associating each number with a word that rhymes with it.
Thus “One” will become “Bruno”, “Two” will become “Ox”, “Three” will become “King”, and so on. Since it is simpler, one generally practices the rhyme system first and then moves on to the actual phonetic conversion.
3 – Systematic reviews
We had to get there. The nightmare of every student, the obsession of anyone who opens a book with the knowledge that he will have to get to know it in detail. Yet, among the many memorization techniques that can be adopted, this is one of the few that guarantees a bomb-proof long-term memory.
Anyone who thinks that to review you simply need to open a book that we have already studied and scroll through it to fix the key elements in the memory are very wrong. The matter is more complicated, and responds to cognitive needs aimed at countering a widely studied mental phenomenon: the curve of oblivion.
The German psychologist and philosopher Hermann Ebbinghaus, in his book “On memory” of 1885 has amply explained how memory, or rather oblivion, follows an exponential rhythm. After an hour of learning we tend to forget 50% of what we have learned. After 24 hours, another 10% is added, and so on until we remember nothing but the title of the book… maybe!
Well, i systematic reviews serve to counter this natural tendency. The course of the reviews serves to counteract the oblivion curve. To minimize the negative effects it will be necessary to follow some review cycles: refresh the topics with a precise cadence. One hour later, then one day after, a week after and finally a month after.
In this way, the effects of the oblivion curve are canceled, or minimized, by fixing a thorough knowledge of the subject in long-term memory.
4 – Technique of the Loci
How about a time travel? Among the techniques for memorizing, this is by far the oldest. Think it seems to have been invented by Cicerone, who certainly practiced it habitually!
It is about creating a real mental path… in the sense of a real journey, with place of departure, arrival and intermediate stages!
From a basic concept, make each stage correspond to an intermediate concept that helps you to logically develop the construction of the discourse. You can associate an image to each concept according to the PAV method: it will seem like stroll through your mind.
The only warning: imagine a path that you really know, that you know well: the journey you took as a boy to go from home to school. Something you know like the back of your hand, or you will also have to remember the path as well as the concepts that make it up!
Of all these techniques, perhaps the most effective is that of Mind Mapping!
Find out how to best use them in the episode of the Turn School with Matteo Salvo.