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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Memory hack: Derren Brown teaches the method of loci | Big Think

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DERREN BROWN: We all think we're terrible at remembering things we all complain we

can't remember faces and remember names we can remember faces often but we can't

remember names and at a party and you know we all think we have terrible

memories I think we sort of imagined maybe that some people just have amazing

memories and we have images of you know Meryl Streep who can supposedly just you

know photo readers has script and and but there I think these things don't

really quite exist in the way we imagine that they do what's what's useful but it

all memory techniques are based on the idea of working with what the mind

already does which is forming memorable connections between bits of information

so we lock them together so for example to give you a a practical example and

these everything like everything great goes back to the Greeks so this is an

ancient Greek technique it's called the low key system and I you can use this if

you need to remember any long list of things so it could I use this at night

if I need to remember stuff I've got to do the next day but I'm too tired you

know write them down so here's what you do it sounds like a lot of work but it

isn't once you get your head around it so have a walk that you know around an

area that you can create in your mind very easily so it could be your street

it could be the walk from the subway station to your house or whatever and

all you need along that area are a few set points that you could remember

without having to think about it because you know there's always a zebra crossing

there there's a post box mailbox I'm probably using very English quite an

English explosions if there's a certain store there's a you know a bush or

whatever just just things that you're very familiar with so the first thing

you've got to remember is I don't know I have to take my suit to the dry cleaners

and I've got to do that tomorrow so I make an image you have to make a bizarre

image of that thing so say a suit that is so clean it's sort of gleaming bright

white that you can barely look at it and you attach that to this image of the

mailbox so you imagine someone's pulled that like dressed up the metal box in a

in a gleaming white suit or is trying to stuff it in but the light

shining out of the little slot whatever you just make a bizarre image that links

the two then you forget about it you don't need to think about it and then

the next thing you do at the next location and the next thing you do at

the next location and so on and as long as you've made those images as bizarre

and ridiculous as I'm making them sound which is what's important all you do the

next stage you just mentally walk down that route again and you go why is there

a white suit on the oh yeah I'm going to take my year suit and then the next one

maybe is you know you have to you have to call your mother and it's what is it

it's a big shrub by the side of the road so you're you know there's your mother

in there waving a telephone from the shrub and she's you know there's

branches and leaves can I don't open caught up in a hair and your whatever

just a silly image that you you know you that you don't forget so they would do

this and you can you can the longer you know the bigger your area of locations

are the better I did this with the the history of art I used to I used to read

a lot around the history of art I was sick of forgetting about it so I I know

the City of London fairly well so I just took the route around the center of

London that I know well which would give me about 600 different locations and

then starting in Greek Street for example which is a city not I've started

there with the ancient Greeks I would place these these bizarre images at

little locations so I could by walking around this route I could recreate the

history of art as I knew it from the books that I've read so you can expand

this thing or you can keep it small and manageable so that's that that's a

really good system for remembering lists if you want a couple of others that are

probably a little briefer to describe if you want to remember names at a party

and I don't enjoy parties so I always tend to do this because it gives me

something to do you find a link between the person's name and something about

their appearance what they're wearing their face their hair something so you

do have to listen that's the first thing when they say the name normally that

very moment where someone's giving you the name you're just caught up in a

sudden like you know whole load of social anxiety anyways you don't even

hear it so you have to listen you find a link with something that they're wearing

so if they're called mic and they've got I don't know

big black hair you think that's like a microphone so I can imagine like a big

you know microphone walking around or if they've got a stripy t-shirt on you

imagine a microphone with those stripes going around it and it's the same

process later on in the evening you see them you look at the stripes and you go

oh that's Mike really Mike that's Mike or the hair why am I thinking that he

has like a big microphone I use of course they called Mike and then while

the party dips and you're a bit bored you look around the room and see if you

can do everyone's name and then you've got a couple of minutes to sort of try

and recreate it if you can't quite remember oh yes of course it's the

jacket although taking their jacket off that's why I can't do it so I'll link it

with something else and then at the end you get to go around and say goodbye to

everybody my name and everyone thinks you're very charming and clever

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