I've been reading Are You Dreaming? and bumped into a pretty nifty and simple memory hack in it. Before this I've never been interested in memory hacks at all. I've had pretty good memory for remembering useful stuff (except names!) to begin with and haven't really needed mnemonics for anything. Using up tons of time and effort for building mind castles or visualizing the street where I lived as a kid just hasn't seemed like a good investment.
This memory trick on the other hand seemed so easy and maybe even useful, that I decided to give it a spin. Memory pegs, in a nutshell:
- Creat a fixed list of things that you can use for associations.
- Use those things to fix things into your memory.
Wikipedia has more info about the peg system. Are You Dreaming? gives a nice rundown on how to actually start using these pegs and more importantly, it gives you the reason why this could be a nice idea. In this book's case, the context is naturally dreaming. With a hacked memory, you can transfer stuff more easily between the waking world and the dream world. It's hard to remember anything while being unconscious and chased by a nightmare-hound, so having extra tools comes in handy.
Tried the system quickly and it seems to work on short term stuff at least. By using some 20 minutes on building the pegs, I seem to be able to remember 20 randomly chosen items from my apartment rather effortlessly. As I wrote these down to be able to check recollection (which might be what actually was causing the good recollection), I naturally had to do some more tests.
I picked five objects that I pegged down and five I just sort of decided to remember. Didn't write anything down, just quickly chose the items. I tried to spend about equal (short) amount of time trying to pin them down. After doing some household chores etc., tried recollecting the things.
- No memory tricks: after some trying, remembered two, maybe three of the objects.
- Memory peg: remembered the five objects effortlessly and instantly.
Naturally could test this more (writing things down on paper vs. pegging them, for example) but I guess the merits of pegging system seem pretty obvious at this point. For some reason it's always really surprising and exciting when a hack actually works. After (very limited) testing, this one seems to be one of the good ones. If I'm really lucky, this might even help me remember a name now and then!