Learn About Mnemonics

What is Mnemonics?

The term Mnemonics is derived from the Greek Goddess of memory Mnemosyne.

Broadly speaking mnemonics are a group of memory techniques or mental slights of hand that together facilitate the quick and easy assimilation of information of all kinds.

Facts, figures, names, faces and events, all can be learned and recalled far easier by using mnemonics, than by using the conventional means of rote learning and repetition.

Mnemonics to improve memory

Mnemonics use the imagination in conjunction with all of the individuals’ senses (sight, sound, touch, smell), in order to transform a dull, dry piece of text into a firm and vibrant memory that is not just easy to remember, but difficult to forget!
Mnemonics and the other memory improvement techniques outlined in this site gain their power by making use of the way that our minds absorb information. For memories to be formed the following events must occur:

  1. Observation. For an event to be committed to memory, it must first be observed. This might seem self-evident to you, but you must understand that seeing is entirely different from observing. This is discussed in more detail in chapter 3 of my book Observation and Memory.
  2. Association. All memory is based upon association. To remember one piece of information, we invariably associate it with another already committed memory. This is usually done without our conscious awareness.
  3. Visualisation. Strong memories are memories that are visual in nature. A quotation that you read is not as easily recalled as an event that you witness. The text is dry, but images are vibrant.
    Mnemonics gain much of their strength from transforming the dull and mundane, into the visual.
Why use Mnemonics?

The reason that mnemonic techniques and so called other ‘tricks’ are so useful is that they remove the need for constant repetition and rote learning when studying or trying to commit other facts and pieces of information to long-term memory. Using these methods, therefore, frees up time to do other things. In a learning context, this would mean that more time can be spent ‘understanding’ a subject, rather than just recalling facts.

Please take a look at the items in the menu on the left of the page to learn more about these groups of techniques and to try them out for yourself.