Association. Image. LocalizationPublished on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 at 2:30 pm and is filed under Memory Training
Before the modern science has discovered, the extraordinary possibilities of the human brain using the advances in neuroscience and psychology, ancient Greeks already discovered that mental ability can be greatly increased by using special techniques.
The Greeks developed fundamental rules of memorization and called the art of memory “mnemonic”, after the goddess of memory – Mnemosyne.
Knowledge about mnemonic tricks and rules were dispersed through members of the intellectual elite of that time and used them in the course of public speaking and intellectual competitions, allowing them to demonstrate a “wonderful” memory, and thereby to achieve high positions in economic, political or military sphere, or simply to raise their authority.
The Greeks thus were “gladiators” in the early days of mental duels; on their stadiums were hold speaker event, whose main weapon was the memory. They asked each other tricky questions, trying to bring down the enemy, asking about such things as the number, names and order of Greek’s poleis, forcing the opponent to quote from memory passages from literary works and texts of laws.
Those who won in such contests became orators, heroes or community leaders.
Mnemonic techniques and rules were based on fundamental principles, which in spite its apparent simplicity were very effective when the task was to improve the memory.
Three mnemonic principles
The Greeks discovered through introspection, brainstorming and views exchange, that memory is largely based on ASSOCIATION; in other words, working memory depends largely on the ability to detect and fix all sorts of relationships between objects. For example, accepting the word ”apple” and the related concepts, the brain learns (vests associative bonds) colors, peculiar to this fruit, its taste, quality, the smell, as well as the contextual environment, from which the object was taken as a mental image.
The Greeks have also learned that, in addition to association the object to be memorized, should be interpreted with all the senses if possible, that is how bright and deeply felt a certain IMAGE.
The third pillar on which is founded the memory is the LOCALIZATION (FIXATION). In other words, if you want your brain to remember something it should be given a space defined (localized) in relatively to the mass of other pieces of information stored in memory.
As a good analogy, we can take this example. If you have come to a library, whichstores a million of volumes what would you prefer: to dig into the mountain of bookspiled on the floor anyhow, or search for one you need in a convenient directory, whereeach copy is assigned its own serial number corresponding to its location on the bookshelf? Of course, the last one.