Method of loci

Are You a Secret Memory Athlete?

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When Nelson Dellis works out, he goes to ‘the mental gym.’

That is not to say he doesn’t work out his physical body- he’s a dedicated climber, he’s summited Mount Everest in 2016, Huantsán in 2015, Kilimanjaro in 2014, and more. It’s all listed in his blog Climb 4 Memory– an odd title, until one learns that Nelson Dellis is a four time Memory Champion, and he has dedicated so much of his life to help other people improve their memory to the best of his ability.

Dellis works on his memory every day, his favorite memory trick being the Method of Loci. This is something he claims helps organize his mind in an easy to use way, and it always helps him locate what he is looking for. Dellis began to work on his memory after his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He swore it wouldn’t happen to him, and aimed to be a champion. He wanted to be the best: he was motivated to try every trick and every day to avoid the struggles of dementia. Working on his memory was like working on paying attention, he claims. He’s become more aware of remembering, more aware of focusing as he went through his day.

How can I remember this? What is the best way to remember this?

From the first time he began to study memory methods, he aimed to be number one, and not just ‘good.’ Dellis says this is how he came to be the four time champion- he didn’t aim to be better, but aimed to beat the people who won first place, from his…

Brain training turns recall rookies into memory masters

brain links
Compared with novices, trained memory experts have some connections between brain areas that are stronger (red) and others that are weaker (blue). The bigger spheres highlight brain areas that have more connections specific to people with supercharged memory.


Just six weeks of training can turn average people into memory masters.

Boosting these prodigious mnemonic skills came with overhauls in brain activity, resulting in brains that behaved more like those of experts who win World Memory Championships competitions, scientists report March 8 in Neuron.

The findings are notable because they show just how remarkably adaptable the human brain is, says neuroscientist Craig Stark of the University of California, Irvine. “The brain is plastic,” he says. “Through use, it changes.”

It’s not yet clear how long the changes in the newly trained brains last, but the memory gains persisted for four months.

In an initial matchup, a group of 17 memory experts, people who place high in World Memory Championships, throttled a group of people with average memories. Twenty minutes after seeing a list of 72 words, the experts remembered an average of 70.8 words; the nonexperts caught, on average, only 39.9 words.

In subsequent matchups, some nonexperts got varying levels of help. Fifty-one novices were split into three groups. A third of these people spent six weeks learning the method of loci, a memorization strategy used by ancient Greek and Roman orators. To use the technique, a person must imagine an elaborate mental scene, such as a palace or a familiar walking path, and populate it with memorable items….