There are different mnemonic devices that could help an individual memorize as many things as he could. These are acronym, acrostic, rhyme-keys, loci, keyword method, image-name technique and chaining. Acronym is an invented combination of letters with each letter acting as a cue to an idea you need to remember. An example for this is SWOT, a commonly-used acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Acrostic is an invented sentence where the first letter of each word is a cue to an idea you need to remember. In the elementary years, Filipino kids were taught this acrostic to remember the nine planets, “my very eager mother just sends us nine pesos”. Rhyme-keys is a two-step memory process.
You memorize key words that can be associated with numbers, and then you create an image of the items you need to remember with key words. Loci method is when you imagine placing the items you want to remember in specific locations in a room with which you are familiar. On the other hand, keyword method is often used when learning foreign vocabulary. It is done by selecting the foreign words you need to remember, then identifying an English word that sounds like the foreign one. Image-name technique is to invent a relationship between the name and the physical characteristics of the person. This is a good technique for remembering names. Lastly, chaining is to create a story, where each word or idea you have to remember will cue the next idea you need to recall.
In playing the “memory solitaire” game, I used chaining. I created a story following the horizontal sequence of the pictures beginning from “C” (first image) to the truck (last image). I used it over the other techniques because remembering 20 images in two minutes is quite a tough job. In order not to miss many images, I linked each picture by creating a story. This helped me remember all the pictures except for two (dipper and snare drums), which happened to be positioned next to the other. I remembered 18 pictures in this exercise.
For the “wander around the house” game, I used loci method. I preferred this over the other techniques because it is easier to recall things when it is accompanied with significant and familiar places. I placed each of the pictures on the locations in our house, and associated them with significant memories. This time I recalled all the ten items.
In the “tell yourself a story” game, I still used chaining, but linked the pictures in my story according to their relationship, not in terms of sequence. Instead of placing the comb and scissors on the couch, and the hat was worn by the polar bear, I imagined the bear, being the barber, who got the comb and the pair of scissors, instructed the client to sit on the couch and let him wore the hat before he left. I also got a perfect score here.
Personally, I consider loci method as the most effective technique because it is easier to recall things when they are linked with familiar places. These places have already been registered in your long term memory and pairing a new one with them could help facilitate better recall.
Keeley, Meg. (1999, March). The Basics of Effective Learning: Mnemonics – Memory
Techniques. Retrieved on February 28, 2008, from http://www.edu/~specpop/mnemonics.htm