30 in 30 16: Shikamaru's Mnemonic

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30 in 30 16: Shikamaru's Mnemonic

Dozens of mnemonics are used by world's leading memory athletes to retain complex information structures of all kinds. My personal favorite is a variant of The Peg System proposed by Lynne Kelly: The Visual Alphabet.

The visual alphabet technique requires users to strongly associate an image with each letter of the alphabet. Then, to memorize anything, say, a grocery list, you attach each item to a peg in the order you'll grab them from the store.

Kelly provides a few tips for extra effectiveness:

  • Make each image interact with the next like an imaginary play
  • Make each scene as dramatic, emotional, unrealistic, and sexually obscene as possible
  • Use your personal favorite words

To get super effective, use low cognitive load words from the Glasgow Norms, a brilliant dataset categorizing words by arousal, valence, imageability, familiarity, and even age of acquisition.

For example:
A = Animals
B = Bed
C = Christmas

To remember eggs, bacon, and brioche bread, you might imagine a group of mammals banging, laying eggs, getting sliced into crispy bacon, for a Christmas morning meal slammed between two bootylicious brioche buns.

Or something like that.

Shikamaru from Naruto memorizes Tayuya's hand jutsus, opponent attacks, and full chess games with apparently similar techniques. Of course, if he had the Sharingan like literally any Uchiha, he could basically download everything he sees in real-time.

Parting tip: memorize the book Memory Craft by Lynne Kelly and check out the Glasgow Norms. Happy to send you either. Just email me: bgf419 @ gmail.