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← Sins of Memory

jameshogg's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by jameshogg

Comment 7 by Bobwundaye :

An interesting TED talk on how we can all improve our memories:

This technique specifically mentioned is what I use to remember the order of a deck of cards for when it can help me in a magic trick. It is much better than ordering the cards in an obvious pattern.

There are many variations, but the way I do it is I have 26 locations in my house and I have an image for each location that represents 2 cards. I start from a logical starting position and work through each of the images in turn (for me, I go into each room and look around in it in a clockwise direction).

To make the image, 1 card represents the "object" and the other 1 represents the object's "action". To work out the object or action for each card, I make a word out of the card by taking the letter of its suit (C, H, S, D) as the first letter and turn its number into a letter for the first consonant immediately after the suit. So:

2 = n (for two "strokes"), 3 = m (for three "strokes"), 4 = r (fouR), 5 = f (Five), 6 = b (looks like a "b"), 7 = t (close to a "t"), 8 = c (curvy, I guess..), 9 = g (looks like a "g"), 10 = s (harder to get consonants from this point, so "s" shall do here).

So the object for the 4 of Hearts would be "H - r - ". Now it is a case of filling in the word with any vowels you like to make the word you want. This could be "Hair" or "Hare" for example. And the next card in the order would be the previous object's action. If it were the 10 of Diamonds "D - s -", the hair or hare would be "dissolving" or "disappearing" in regards to where the image is in your house. Repeat that another 25 times in order to get all 52 cards. Make sure they are in the order "object does action" to avoid confusion (i.e. "the hare dissolves", "the hair disappears").

It can get hard to make a system that allows for the best creation of words, so tweak it to see what's best for you.

And for the face cards and aces, I jump straight to an image since it is easier. The ace of spaces is the grim reaper for example. But if it's better, use "l" to represent the number one (ace of diamonds would be "d - l - " , for words like "dial"). I use the King, Queen and Jack of Clubs as characters from the movie Ocean's Eleven, and the King, Queen and Jack of Spades as characters from the anime Death Note.

It will take a bit of practice to get used to the system. Once you do, you can remember a deck quite easily.

Few things to bear in mind when you are making the images in your head:

Make the images unusual and weird - make them something you have literally never seen before. So if it were a hare dissolving, make the image as nonsensical as possible: the hare throwing up his arms "Why? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!" as he slowly bubbles, trying to hop desperately in vain only to find he is sticking to the object in your house. His face melts to the points where he looks like a sad clown made of wax.

Make the images interact with the object in your house - It can't just be standing next to the object, it needs to be engaging with it - dancing with, strangling, or having sex with said object. So, have the hare dissolve completely and leave a bubbly mess over the object in your house. The selfish hare has left you to clean up the mess.

Make the images vivid and provocative - take a second to notice the texture of your image, as if you were painting it and needed to watch for the most captivating details i.e. the steam emitting from the dissolving hare, and the fur not yet dissolved in comparison with the bubbling liquid. Also, make sure the image as a whole provokes you in some way: to laugh, to be disgusted, to be puzzled, etc. This helps the whole image to stick.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 18:19:51 UTC | #946382