Mind Halls: what is it and how to develop it?

The phrase «mind halls» in most modern people is strongly associated with the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. The famous character, created by the great Arthur Conan Doyle, skillfully used some of the techniques that received the general name — the palaces of the mind. This work has been filmed more than once, and each time the directors show this ability of the detective in a new way.

Modern technologies allow the viewer to literally get into the brain of the detective. That is why after showing the last English version of the series with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, the palaces of the mind interested millions of people all over the planet.

What it is?

The palaces of the mind — a special method of memorizing information, which was described before our era in the textbook Rhetoric for Herennius, the author of which is unknown. This method has several names. It is often called the method of Cicero, the method of places or the method of loci from the Latin locus — location.

In any case, the technique is used to improve memory. That is why the method is also known under one more name — the memory palace.

How to create?

Can you and I create our own memory palace, enter it, or is it only subject to such great minds as Sherlock Holmes? Experts say that mnemonics is available to everyone. Anyone can build their own memory palace and learn how to use it no worse than a brilliant detective. The main thing is desire and patience.

True, opinions differ on exactly how and where to build a palace. Some believe that it must certainly be based in a familiar environment — in an apartment or even exclusively in a separate room. Others believe that the treasured palace should be created from scratch, from scratch. It is necessary to build in the imagination a completely new space, for example, a medieval castle.

Proponents of familiarity argue that it is best to place the mind halls along a well-known street route, for example, on the way from home to work. Some use their workplace, favorite club, museum or even church to create them. In any case, this will help to master the secrets of mnemonics (a set of techniques for remembering the necessary information).

One of the easiest, and therefore suitable for beginners, is considered a memory palace created in your own bedroom. You know every corner of it. However, in order to create “halls” in it, it is necessary to go into a familiar environment, as it were, anew.

Next, determine in it the places where you will mentally place the information you need. Such places can be a dressing table, bedside table, pillow, headboard, mirror and so on. Creating «halls» is akin to meditation, many close their eyes for this, use relaxing music. You need to mentally walk around the place chosen to create the «halls» several times. Remember every detail there and only then post information there.

The better you study your palace, the better it will help your memory in the future. If you wish, you can fill your palace with other clues — smells, for example. It is also recommended to draw it in all the smallest details, discuss it with friends. And only then can you securely place the necessary information there.

You need to go around your abstract possessions every time in the same order. That is strictly clockwise or vice versa. If you have chosen a street for your «halls», then lay one single route there. And always start it from the same place. So let’s get started.

  • Each memory in your virtual palace should be stored in the form of one or another object. For example, in order not to forget about meeting a new person, you can hang his photo at the head of the bed. By the way, here you can fix other «knots» as a keepsake.
  • It is recommended to divide the imaginary space into several zoneseach has room for four or five visual memories.
  • If your room has two absolutely identical shelves, then only one can be used to store information. It is better not to repeat in this case, confusion may arise.
  • Let’s move on to our palace. If your plans are to get to the store the other day, then you can also make a shopping list using your “hall”. Mentally place the necessary products on a pillow, bedside table, bookshelf, and so on, if you wish, add smell, color, music to the visual range, or imagine how a cassette of eggs fell from the table and milk spilled onto the computer keyboard. Then, when you come to the store and mentally return to your «hall», you will definitely not forget to buy eggs and milk. A shopping list is certainly not the brightest idea for using this method of memorization, in a supermarket it is probably easier to use a regular list written by hand or stuffed into a phone, but it is a great opportunity for beginners to try out the skills of managing a memory palace.
  • With experience comes the ability to use skills in more important situations, such as passing an exam or test, giving a lecture, and so on. With the addition of each item, walk around your property again and again so as not to miss a single detail. Only in this way will you be able to recreate the picture invented in your head on demand. So it will be easier to create and then reproduce the associative series.

Experts say that if you wish and use the memory palace correctly, you can “hammer” up to a thousand phone numbers or words of a foreign language into your own memory.

How to develop?

So, we figured out how to create and get into the memory palace. But like any building, your «halls» require maintenance. Don’t forget to visit your domains. Do such locus training, or as they are often called — mental or mental walks, regularly, spend at least 15 minutes a day in them, even if you have nothing to add to the existing environment there. Thus, we train our brain, and as a result, our intellect.

memorization techniques

In order to better remember the memory objects placed in the «halls», there are several methods. With their help, it is easy to remember complex foreign words, the right numbers and dates, the menu for a gala dinner. In general, the Loki method can be useful to anyone — from a housewife to a financial magnate. Here are some secrets to help you master it.

Digital imaging

In order to remember the numbers, they also need to be visualized. And even shocking pictures will do. Experts say they are even more effective than emotionally neutral ones.. For example, you need to memorize the number 128 — imagine a one in the form of a spear, a two in the form of a swan, and then imagine how one blow blows the bird into eight parts at once. Cruel, but believe me, the number 128 will remain in your memory for a long time.

Suppose you need to memorize the number 194102. You should break it into parts: 1941 — the year the war began, 02 — the police phone number. You can visualize each number: 7 is an axe, 0 is a wheel, 8 is a snowman, and so on.

Another option. You need to remember to congratulate the mother of your bride on January 12th. Imagine Ostap Bender from «12 Chairs» by Ilf and Petrov. Yes, the one with a long scarf, but not in the freshest form, right after the New Year holidays. Do you remember your future mother-in-law’s birthday? It seems that you will not forget him, no matter what happens.


This method is well suited for learning foreign languages. In Turkish, the word «salt» is consonant with our card «ace». For better memorization, we put a box of salt with the ace sign on the shelf, hold our attention on this mental construction for at least 5 seconds and leave it there until we need this information. As soon as this corner in the world of abstractions needs to be freed, our memory will do it easily and without regrets. She always easily parted with information that has ceased to be necessary and important to us, which is why information that we do not use in everyday life is so easily forgotten.

By the way, this can happen without your will. If you leave your possessions in your head unattended for a long time, then they will soon disappear or, more simply, like muscles without training, they will atrophy. So if you have already decided to create your own memory palace, then you need to visit and update it every day.

This should become a good habit. Over time, its area can be expanded as much as your imagination allows.


There are symbols that are fixed in the minds of most people. At the same time, people themselves never thought about creating halls of consciousness. For example, most people associate the turtle with slowness, the red cross with health care, the scepter and the crown are symbols of power. To better remember this or that information, come up with a suitable correct symbol for it and put it in the free space in your memory palace.

Symbols will come to mind easily and naturally, at your first request to reproduce this or that information.

Interesting Facts

According to some sources, the method of loci was invented by the ancient Greek poet Simonides, who lived from 556 to 468. BC. According to legend, he was the only one who survived after the collapse of the building, where he feasted with his comrades and not only. When asked to identify the dead, he did so without much difficulty, simply by remembering where one of them sat at the table before the disaster.

According to other sources, the first palaces of the mind were created in their heads by masters of rhetoric back in Ancient Rome. They just didn’t have a choice. Roman orators were not allowed to use notes during their speeches. Therefore, they began to use this method to memorize numerous facts. In those distant times, oratorical speeches were not regulated and lasted several hours.

Today, memorization championships are held in the world. During these competitions, participants memorize more than a hundred words literally in moments, in one or two seconds. One of the most famous champions of such tournaments is the English author of books on the development of memory Dominic O’Brien. In 2002, he set an impressive record by memorizing a sequence of 2,808 cards after looking at each one only once.

What are you capable of, you can try to find out right now – just start building your memory palace. Numerous articles and books published on this topic will help to improve in this matter. But do not forget — we live in the age of computer technology, when the good old Sherlock Holmes with his deduction was replaced by the modern Sherlock, with the palaces of the mind.

The memory palace can also be built with innovative methods — with the help of a computer, go back there and change the order there when it pleases. Model and experiment.

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