In this page, we will see the linking method for memory improvement. The memory system was presented initialy in memory techniques page through an excellent video. Unfortunately, this video is not available anymore, and so I will try to show this easy and simple memory method.
The linking technique also called chaining method, is a very efficient memory technique for remembering a list of items. It works actually by creating mental images that involve the things that you want to memorize and link these images like a chain.
This method is based solely on your visualization and imagination skills. Let’s see an example of the method to understand better what you have to do.
Let’s suppose that you want to remember the following list:
o Paint brush
The items are completely random; I put whatever it came on my head now. This method can work with any object you pick, but it has better results with non-abstract meanings. For example, it is easier to imagine a “pizza” than “cleverness.” However, it is not impossible but a little bit more difficult. Let’s see how you can use the linking method with this list.
Every mental picture you get must contain two objects. The first one is the one that you need to remember and the second one is the link to the next mental picture. So the chain will look like this:
(Onions,Pizza) <-> (Pizza,Sandals) <-> (Sandals,Watch) <-> (Watch,Butter) <-> (Butter,Fish) <-> (Fish,Paint brush) <->
(Paint Brush,Batteries) <-> (Batteries,Cat) <-> (Cat,Laptop)
In the end, the chain will be a small story that involves you living a crazy, sometimes ridiculous experience. It will be continuous and not just images that replace each other.
All the items except the first and the last one appear twice in the memory chain. You have to remember the first one by your own to move through the links and reach the rest. This problem can be solved easily by rearranging the object list, so the first two items relate directly. Another option is to create a mental link between the first object and a place that you will pass later. In any case, it is a lot easier to remember just one item than a list.
A nice feature of the linking method is that you can move towards any direction. For example, you can remember the (Sandal, Watch) image and move backward to (Pizza, Sandals) or forward to (Watch, Butter).
Let’s see an example of how to take mental pictures of every item pair. You can work similarly on your lists. At this point, I would like to remind you the basic rule I told you in memory strategies page; the more unique and vivid the mental images, the better results you will get. In this method, you must exaggerate in your pictures. Don’t just imagine a pizza with onions, it is something reasonable that you see it often. Instead, imagine something strange, unreal or even ridiculous. Make the experience unique. Another memory enhancer is to notice your feelings and emotions, your thoughts, your surprise and your senses.
o Onions, Pizza : Imagine that whole huge onions are in the center of the giant pizza. Notice the colors, the smells, the tastes. This pizza must be delicious. –>
o Pizza, Sandals: As you observing it one huge onion jumps out to your feet onto you new sandals and explodes.–>
o Watch, Butter: The explosion shakes a red with green dots wall-clock. The clock falls and breaks. You observe that from the broken front glass melted butter comes out and forms a fish. –>
o Butter, Fish: You identify the butterfish, it is the one from the movie Finding Nemo! –>
o Fish, Paint Brush: Then a paintbrush comes in and starts painting the fish in its original colors –>
o Paint brush, Batteries: But before finishing, the paint brush stops because its batteries are depleted. –>
o Batteries, Cat: You open the drawer to find batteries and a big black cat jumps out scaring you. –>
o Cat, Laptop: The scared cat runs directly towards a huge laptop monitor to escape as it thinks there is an exit from the room, and it crashes on the monitor.
Well, this story is so ridiculous that I feel ashamed to publish it. It is so exaggerating, like some very strange dreams that you can’t find anything rational. Though, these exaggerations are the secret of the linking method that increase memory efficiency.
The images I created were the first ones that came to my mind. It is better to use the first image than to think about it and choose something you like more. Remember, your target is to remember the list and your mind will show you which mental picture is preferable.
The linking method is a simple and easy technique. You can improve memory as you engage the long term memory for memorizing things that they would normally go to the short term memory. Until I create a new crazy and unreal experience to learn a new list, I will be able to remember the last items for a very long time.
Don’t get discouraged if you need a long time to master the linking method. It is natural. As with every skill, memory techniques require some time for your mind to get used to it and do it fast. If you train often, then you will be able to create the mental images in a matter of seconds.