Memory Basics: iPhone/iPod Touch Style

Published on Thursday, March 11, 2010 in , ,

Memory Training on the iPhone/iPod TouchIt's time to get back to basics! I've included an extensive list of memory technique links on this site for quite some time. Recently, I've been looking into the ways to practice these techniques on the go with iPhone and iPod Touch apps.

The best place to start, of course, is with the memory techniques themselves. Besides the previous links, there are memory books available as apps, such as Mind Performance Hacks (iTunes Link, Review Link). Also, with help from a multi-format reader, my personal favorite being Good Reader (iTunes Link), you have access to an ever-growing library of memory books, like those at Lybrary.com.

Now, let's get to apps that help with particular memory techniques! (More details on each of these systems can be found at the links on the Memory Basics page.)

Link System/Story System

Your first stop here should be the free app Dave Farrow Memory Training (iTunes Link). It covers the basics of the link system, and generates random lists of 5, 6, or 7 items (your choice) which you're later quizzed on. As each item is given, suggested images and sentences are also available, as examples of the types of mental links you should be making.

Once you're comfortable with the link system basics, it's time to get an app that will help you generate more substantial lists to practice. My first choice here is Word Twiddle (iTunes Link). It lets you generate 1, 2, or 3 words at a time, keeps a list of words (handy for checking if you've memorized correctly) and you can limit it to just nouns for creating lists to memorize.

Keep in mind that you should focus on easily-pictured objects when starting out, so you should keep words like jar, gold, and library, and avoid abstract words like fear, degree, and work.

Another good choice is MakeRandom (iTunes Link), which lets you create save your own random word lists, or use a pre-existing one. Need a list of easily-pictured nouns? Check out nouns.txt for some possibilities. It won't keep of list of generated items for you, so you'll have to keep a list elsewhere (such as the built-in Notes app).

Number Rhyme & Shape Systems/
Alphabet System/Calendar System

The link and story systems are good for remembering things in order, but sometimes you need to associate things with a number, letter, or even a month of the year. That's where these systems come in handy.

At this level, you'll start finding iPhone and iPod Touch flashcard apps very helpful.

While there are a variety, I find the best ones are integrated with an online site, a desktop application, or better yet, both.

That's why my first choice here is Mental Case, which is a desktop application for Mac. It's integrated with the Mental Case iPhone app (iTunes Link), which is also available for free in a Lite version (iTunes Link) and a Classroom version (iTunes Link). There's built-in integration with FlashcardExchange.com, too.

Another popular choice here is the Smart.fm app (iTunes Link) which, not surprisingly, integrates with the Smart.fm website.

As you learn these techniques move on to others, a good flashcard program will remain valuable, especially due to their flexibility.

Journey System/Loci System

In the journey system, you link a mental image to a particular room along a journey. The loci system expands this by linking your mental images to individual parts of a given room along that same journey.

The more vivid your images of each point in your journey are, the better your recollections will be later. Sure, you could use a flashcard program with graphics capabilities, but there are existing apps that are specifically geared for these systems.

For setting up journeys and reviewing them, there's Memgellan (iTunes Link).

Going just one step further, and offering storage for both the journeys themselves and the things you wish to remember, is the program Steel Trap (iTunes Link). In addition to learning the basics of the journey system, it then goes on to help with memory of numbers, names and faces, and playing cards!

Major/Peg System

When it comes to memorizing numbers and things associated with numbers above and beyond 10, the Major System, also known as the Peg System, is the real memory system powerhouse.

The two apps I'll mention here are ones I also mentioned in my previous snippets post.

Your Memory Coach (iTunes Link) is a good first stop here, as you get full instruction on the Major/Peg system, but get tested on it, as well.

Once you've got a good solid foundation, you can use NumberThink (iTunes Link) both to practice on converting words to numbers and help finding words for a given number. This is a very handy utility to have when you're stuck for a particular number.

Have you found an app that helps you learn a particular memory technique? Let's hear about it!

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2 Response to Memory Basics: iPhone/iPod Touch Style

6:06 AM

Hi. Any updates to this list? Most of them don't work any more or have been removed from the app store.

11:35 AM

That might not be a bad idea for a future post. Thanks for the idea, Alex!