Do you have problems remembering names? Why this should be important? How it can affect your daily life?
You are going to find that more people like you. There are so many things you can do with a very good memory that it would be hard for me to come up with all the things it could do for you
Test your memory BEFORE & AFTER reading the article with this simple and quick puzzle. You will be surprised with the results!
Stacking, or the process of building a memory stack, is a memory recall technique useful for remembering a list of items, particularly an ordered list, though it works better than pegging does for unordered lists.
To build a memory stack, one “visualizes” the items in a gigantic, colorful, and “smooshed together” fashion. I say put quotes around visualizes because the aim is to make one’s mental perception of the stack notable. To do this, one does not just build a picture in one’s mind’s eye, but also repeats the words of the stack and adds gestures to go along with the parts of the stack. Also, it is often helpful to place oneself in the stack to give it personal meaning.
For instance, if for some reason you needed to remember milk, eggs, 1 lb. of ground beef, and rubber gloves, and were learning memory stacking to do it:
- First off, you’d visualize a giant milk carton. You’d then ask yourself questions to fix the image in your mind. How big is it? What color? Does it have condensation on it? Then, as you answer the questions out loud, you would be gesturing to indicate your answers.
- Then you’d visualize eggs balanced atop the milk carton. Are they uncooked or cooked? Are they intact or broken? White eggs, brown eggs, easter eggs, or something else yet?
- Next, on the eggs, you see something that reminds you of one pound of ground beef. How about a dog pound, made of dirt and full of cows? How big? How is the building shaped? What do the cows look like?
- After that, how about having a giant rubber glove grab the pound? What color? Since rubber glove tends to be a general term, what’s it made out of? Left or right handed?
Another example: (visualize this colorfully while gesturing to describe to get the idea of how it was taught)
Imagine a whole bunch of delicate dinnerware. Shooting up through it you see an immense #2 pencil. Impaled on the pencil is a Jersey Cow. Holding onto the cow for dear life is King George. He has a cut on his forehead, and a band-aid connecting the cut. On the bandaid, he has a huge (armful) mass of ice. Sitting on the ice, freezing, is Marilyn Monroe. In her lap is the Love Boat, going south. In the pool of the Love Boat is a bunch of hams. The hams, incidentally, are wrapped in sheet music titled “Carry me back to Old Virginia“. Shooting up from the hams is the Empire State Building. Balanced atop the Empire State Building is another Love Boat, going North. Grabbing the back rail of the love boat, holding on for dear life, is a Rhode Island Red Hen.
What was that? That was the original 13 Colonies that made up the United States, in the order that they signed the Constitution.
A memory recall technique, Pegging involves coming up with a set of permanent “peg words” and then associating them with mental images in which you can insert whatever you need to remember. Pegging is most helpful for an ordered list — usually, an order is given to the peg words. You then replace the something in the image with an image representing what you want to remember. Stacking is superior for unordered lists, however. This is called pegging because it’s as if you are putting each of the items to remember on a peg.
I learned pegging while in Dale Carnegie Training, but I’ve read about it elsewhere since then. Where I’ve read about it, there was one of two methods listed to produce peg words. One was body parts; your head, your shoulders, your elbows, etc. You would then have the objects balanced on parts of yourself, or sometimes hitting you there, or some other action. The second system was to go around your home and write down a number of random household objects coinciding with the number of slots you want to have in your peg system. You then build images based around these items.
The Dale Carnegie pegging system involved 21 peg “words” that sort of rhyme with the associated numbers and given mental pictures to go along with the words. I think that the Dale Carnegie words are superior to body parts, or random household items for two reasons. First, each of these pictures will emotionally involve you. You’re associating motion with each of the images, and you are there — and potentially upset. Second, the words rhyme with the numbers, after a fashion. This makes the system more fault-tolerant of your memory losing a part of it.
The words are:
- Run – A white horse suddenly comes running out of the gate at a horsetrack that you’re at, but the rider isn’t on it. What’s on it? Something.
- Zoo – You’re standing in front of the monkey cage, when the monkeys start throwing things at you. What are they throwing? Something.
- Tree – You’re walking in the woods, and this huge tree is being pulled over to the ground. What’s doing this? Something.
- Door – You’re pushing open a revolving door, when suddenly it stops, causing you to run into it. What jammed it up? Something.
- Hive – You reach into a beehive and grab ahold of an object. You pull it out and what do you find, dripping in your hand? Something.
- Sick – You’re in the hospital, in a bed, when this nurse comes in with this huge syringe. After looking around for a while, she goes and injects it. What does it get injected into? Something.
- Heaven -You’re climbing a stairway to heaven. Things start coming down the stairs and hitting you as you climb. What are the things? Something.
- Gate – You’re at railroad tracks, when the gate comes down, but the end of the gate is being pulled down by a weight which comes crashing through the windshield of your car. What’s weighing the gate down? Something.
- Wine – The waiter comes over with this huge bottle of wine to pour in your glass. Instead of wine, what comes out smashes the glasses and the table. What comes out? Something.
- Den – You’re in the lion’s den, fighting off lions. What are you using to fight them off? Something.
- Football Eleven – You’re going out for a long pass, when instead of the ball, you are knocked to the ground. What knocks you to the ground? Something.
- Shelve – You’re trying to get stuff off a shelf and suddenly things start tumbling down on you. What’s falling on you? Something.
- Hurting – You feel a sharp pain, and notice blood coming out of your side in this huge wound. What’s in the wound, causing it? Something.
- Sorting – You’re sorting laundry, when underneath your clothing, you see something unexpected. What do you see? Something.
- Lifting – You’re at the gym, doing squats. What’s holding the bar down? Something.
- Licking – You’re eating an ice cream cone, but the ice cream cone has been replaced. What has replaced the ice cream cone? Something.
- Movie Screen – You’re watching a movie when suddenly the screen goes white and the movie screen has something come through it from behind. What comes through the movie screen? Something.
- Waiting – You’re waiting for the bus. A bus pulls up, its doors open, but you can’t get in, because your way is blocked. What’s blocking your way? Something.
- Shining – You’re in the woods with your flashlight at night. What’s your flashlight shining on? Something.
- Horn of Plenty – You’re standing before this horn of plenty, and it’s so full things are coming out. What’s coming out? Something.
- Dueling Gun – You’re firing a dueling gun at your opponent, and instead of a bullet, what comes out? Something.
This writeup reprocessed (and added to) from Dale Carnegie Training, as people are unlikely to stumble across this technique there.
If you want to learn more about the memory techniques there is a good book THE MEMORY by Harry Loreyn and Jerry Lukas.
“Perfect memory is a skill,
and not some special gift”
-grandmaster Kevin Horsley