Memory Palaces - do you use them?


Staff member
I know going back to ancient history, there were those who used a Memory Palace to help them remember things. I believe it is also called Method of Loci? It seems our minds have evolved to understand location, no doubt for survival reasons. Then tagging an item into a location and using a mnemonic to associate the two, this seems to have a synergistic effect on cementing the memory trace. To me, this is all theory as I have little experience of using it myself.

So, has anyone here used Memory Palaces before and if so, can you relay your experience?
I first heard of them while reading the third book in the "Hannibal Lecter" series. Also, Patrick Jane ("The Mentalist") mentioned the concept numerous times during the 6(7?) seasons that it aired.

I downloaded a quick quide a few years ago and I have used it to remember names, numbers and other small things. It DOES work to some extent, of that I am sure...could I use it to the extent that it is portrayed in the book and series? I would say yes, but I do not have any real experiences with that...


Founding Member
I suspect that the issue is less the association to some particular image or place and more to the fact that you just reinforced the memory by thinking about it while thinking about something else at the same time. But that's just a suspicion. We don't really know how the brain works at the biochemical level so who knows how that trick works.


Staff member
The method of loci is long established. I suspect the memory wizards have tried all sorts of method, but this one seems to stick. By having an image in your mind of something that you can repeatedly recall (e.g. a building you know), you have "hooks" on which to hang the material. You just have to remember the hook to trigger the recall. But to associate the item (you wish to remember) to the hook, you need a mnemonic. The memory practitioners have found that making it ludicrous, or having explosions, things shattering, assist the association between hook and item.