Method of Loci

Have you ever wondered the secret behind Sherlock Holmes’ sterling memory power? How he never seems to lose sight of important facts and connects the dots in almost an unreal manner.

Recently, researchers have found the strategy behind his long-lasting memory. It’s based on the “method of loci” which is also known as the memory palace technique. “Loci” stands for places or locations in Latin.

This method was originally used by the ancient Roman and Greek people to  remember their journey by dedicating an object to a certain place in order to remember it and feed it into the brain. They would wander through public buildings, stopping to study and memorize various locations and arranging them in order, usually starting with the door of the building. The method is relatively useful in memorizing things in a specific order than memorizing speeches word-for-word.

For example –  The list of the coldest cities in Britain includes : Glasgow, Newport, Peterborough, Wakefield and Exeter.

Now, picture yourself entering your house. The first thing you see is the glowing glass of the transom window above your front door (Glasgow).  As you walk in, you notice the new bookshelf you bought a week back to store the stacks of books you own (Newport).

Now, you sight the painting hanging on your wall which was gifted to you by your brother Peter on your wedding anniversary (Peterborough). Just when you walk into your bedroom, you see your bed where you wake up tranquilly every morning (Wakefield). And finally, you catch sight of the back door that can be used to exit during fire emergencies (Exeter).

You can use the method of loci as randomly you want. What I like about this technique is that besides being useful and functional, it’s really fun to learn. It counts on your creativity and is an alternative to cramming a piece of boring information. You can come up with funny mnemonics to remember the concepts and enhance your memory power. It links imagination to the topic making learning easier and more interactive.