Creative Memory

Published on Thursday, August 25, 2011 in , , , , , , , ,

Google Map of the EarthI talk quite a bit about standard memory techniques on Grey Matters, but sometimes you have to be creative not only in your mnemonics, but also in how you approach what you're memorizing.

Today, we're going to look at some varying memory challenges, and learn how different people approached these tasks.

One of my favorite memory feats on this site is the Day of the Week For Any Date feat. That lesson is geared towards being a memory demonstration, however. If you're looking for more a practical immediate use, such as what day of the week a date will fall on this year, here's one way to remember this year's calendar.

The method involves remembering on what day of the week the 7th of each month falls in the current year. It's also a good lesson in doing research to see what others have done when creating an original approach for the task. All this person really had to do was remember the last day of February for a given year, and that would've given them the whole year!

Another popular feature here is the Knight's Tour, where you can build up to learning how to do a Knight's Tour when someone give the beginning AND ending squares. If that's not impressive enough, imagine taking it to the next level while doing it blindfolded!

This Frezco games page discusses the basics of doing a Knight's Tour blindfolded. The first challenge you run into when doing this version blindfolded is that the named squares need to be of different colors, so one of the first things you learn on this page is how to quickly identify a square's color by it's name. Frezco also has an interesting PDF on similar puzzles, such as Bishop's, Rook's and Queen's Tours, and how to make them interesting and challenging.

Lybrary.com's Chris Wasshuber offers more detailed blindfolded Knight's Tour instructions for sale on his site, including performance tips.

One memory feat I haven't covered on Grey Matters is the challenge of memorizing the world map to the point where you can not only identify every country in the world, but even draw a map locating all of the countries. There's an excellent introduction to a very creative approach in this PDF.

That PDF itself is a pitch for a full book, which no longer seems to be available, unfortunately. However, the PDF does describe the basics so well, that you may be able to sit down with a world atlas and develop your own mnemonics and designs. Alternatively, you can find another structured approach in the book Mapping the World By Heart.

Just as with many memory challenges, there are often patterns you can learn about to help you approach any sort of memory task. Classically, the multiplication tables are a source of dread for anyone just learning about them. However, when taught about the underlying patterns, they can become fun and easy! Take a look at Mister Numbers' Times Tables videos, and you'll see a very interesting approach to the times tables. Here's a great and simple way to learn about the 3s, 6s, and 9s all at once:

What creative approaches have you found that helped you memorize a subject?

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1 Response to Creative Memory

12:13 PM

I had a look at the world map ebook, it looks like an interesting approach.

I would like to see you do something like that. The feats that you share that have a practical use in day to day life are the ones I find most useful.

Although I have learned some of the others for 'fun', the feats I maintain are those with a practical value.

Just my suggestion on where you should go with the site. Useful practical applications of the skills.