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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Linking works

Human memory operates by associating, or linking, one piece of information with another. The great Greek philosophers first understood this linking of one memory to another, many centuries before the dawn of the modern age.

Such knowledge has been put to great use by a large number of researchers in the field of memory improvement ever since. Not to mention by a great many magicians! When the analogy was put forward of an individual upon hearing a particular song, recalling memories or events that were in their mind linked in some way to that song.

For example, when an individual hears a familiar tune, they may recall the face of someone that they were with when they first heard it. Or alternatively, the song may bring back the memory of an important event that took place in their life. Perhaps whilst that piece of music was playing high in the charts. It may even simply take the person back to a general period of their life. Such as their teens.

This phenomenon of memory association (or linking) is very important indeed, and when it is performed ‘consciously,’ it can greatly improve an individual’s capacity for recollection. I will now prove the truth of these words, with the aid of a little test. A test that should help to prove to you, the vast difference in capacity between a trained memory and an untrained one.

List number one

1) Cat 8)  Swan 15) Umberela
2) Apple 9)  Pipe 16) Bird
3) Shoe 10) Sword 17) Comb
4) Tie 11) Horse 18) Sea
5) Book 12) Pan 19) Sun
6) Fish 13) Bread 20) Camera
7) Television 14) Trousers

Now if you would like to indulge me for a little while. What I would like you to do, is to read through the above list of words - just once, concentrating on each word as you do so. Then I would like you to cover it up with a piece of paper and then try to reproduce the entire list in the correct order, in the space provided below. Only when you have completed this task, continue reading.

Go on. Humour me. It will pass a bit of time!

Test Number One

1) 8) 15)
2) 9) 16)
3) 10) 17)
4) 11) 18)
5) 12) 19)
6) 13) 20)
7) 14)

How did you do? Not to good heh! Well try not to let it get you down to much. Because the truth of the matter is that most of the people who are in possession of an untrained memory, would be hard pressed to recall more than half of such a list, after only one reading. Also the words that they did succeed in recalling would probably be in the wrong order. That’s just one of the drawbacks of having an untrained memory.

I will now explain to you how you can memorise a list such as the one shown above, totally and in the correct order, after reading through it only once.

How to link consciously

Imagine that for some reason you wanted to memorise the first five words of the above list. These words are – cat, apple, shoe, tie and book.

Now the first thing that I would like you to do, is to try to form a picture in your minds eye, that links the first word ‘cat’ to the second word ‘apple,’ in an imaginative and thus memorable way. For example you might try picturing a large cat, sinking its teeth into a big, green, juicy apple.

Now if you close your eyes, and for one moment really endeavour to visualise this image, being sure to make it as vivid as you possibly can. Also trying to see with your minds eye, the colours of the cat and of the apple. Then you should find that it is next to impossible for you to forget that the first two words of the above list are cat and apple.
Cat eating apple
The next thing that you need to do is to create an image that links the word apple to the word shoe. You could try imagining a huge shoe, brimming over with bright, green, juicy apples. Or maybe you could imagine an apple wearing a pair of shoes. See the image in your minds eye, and attempt to make it as vivid as you possibly can. The more vivid an image is – the easier it is to recollect.

Now try to link the word shoe to the word tie. To do this, you could imagine a shoe wearing a tie, or a pair of shoes with ties instead of laces (cartoon-like images are the easiest to recall).

Finally in order to link together the words tie and book, you could simply visualise an enormous book, with a striped tie for a bookmark.

Having done this, you should now be able to remember all of the afore mentioned words. To do this simply close your eyes and journey through the mental links that you have just created. This is a relatively simple procedure, because (as you can see), one image is joined (or linked) to the next.

Thus thinking of the first image forces you to think of the second image, which forces you to think of the third image ect…
So what? I hear you ask. I could have remembered those five words easily, without having to form those ridiculous images. Well this may well be true for the first five words, but I bet that you couldn’t have remembered all twenty. You can with this method.

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