what is a memory palace? Memorization techniques. We train the intellect using the method of loci

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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