Memory Training-Ending week one

June 6, 2016 by

Chaining-Linking graphicWell, yesterday marked the end of the first week of my memory program regiment. While I didn't practice as much, or as hard, as I really wanted to, I think I've made a decent amount of progress in the program I've developed for myself. This past week, I was able to:

  • Develop two full-fledged peg lists. One has ten pegs, the other has twenty
  • Practice chaining/linking unrelated items
  • Memorized a third list of twenty items using association techniques

So a decent amount of progress, most of which was review. So what type of improvement, if any, did all this do for me? Surprisingly, enough that it impressed me. My primary area of focus/practice was in using chaining/linking techniques. Basically, you use mental pictures to arbitrarily link two unrelated items so it's easier to remember both items, in the order provided. The first mini-test involved remembering five items. After spending only about twenty seconds on it, I've committed five items to memory what appears to be permanently. Without reviewing the list again, I still can recite that list.

More surprisingly, the quiz later in the text had me memorize ten unrelated words. After spending about a minute reviewing the list once (about six seconds per word) I permanently memorized that list as well. I read through the list once. Then my wife wanted to watch TV, so I put the book aside. Fast forward six+ hours, and I was able to list out the words, in order, and without reviewing the list, at 100% accuracy.

Granted, it's only ten words. And except in rare circumstances, being able to memorize a list of random words isn't a much sought-after skill either. But think about it, just being able to improve your memory in the space of a week, to be able to remember a random list of words that easily. Honestly, I'd be pretty confident in my ability that I think I could memorize a list of fifty words, in order, at about the same pace, and have 100% recall of that list as well. The technique works that well. At no time did I struggle to try and remember a word. Even more interesting, I can recite the list backwards just as easily. If you tell me a word from the list, I can recite the remainder of the list either going backward or forward without any additional effort. With some tweaking and/or combining with the peg lists I've created, I can easily see a lot of possibilities with just the little bit I've learned so far. I can see how these techniques would let me memorize entire passages from a book, or HTML/CSS tags, or all the commands for programming. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much just this little bit of training has opened up my learning capabilities. I'm excited to see what the next lessons have in store for me.

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