Memorization Techniques Through and By Association and Imagination


Memory is the faculty of the brain by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is vital to experience and constitutes the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. All of us are bestowed with varied degrees of memory. Some have capacity to memorize things quickly, whereas others take time. On an average a person retains 30% in the evening of what he did during daytime if he or she follows the same schedule everyday, 15% after two days and only special events of that particular day over long period of time. We are only able to recall important events such as wedding, funeral, birthday, when we meet someone for the first time, accident, or anything which takes place out of normal routine of life. Some people read a chapter of a book and are able to recall it word by word; some retain the central idea chapter by chapter. Some others won’t be able to recall anything at all. There is nothing wrong with any of these patterns. It is actually about our genetic make-up, upbringing and many other factors. Strong memory has always been a turn-on and people blessed with the strong memory do good in schools and colleges and later in professional life too. Now that we understand that memory can vary from person to person. Is it possible to enhance our power of memory? To understand this lets go little into science. Memory is a function of a brain. Brain is an organ made up of nerve cells. Nerve cells are called neurons and there are approximately 86 billion neurons in our brain. Our brain has an unlimited capacity to store things. Our survival relies directly on our memory. The more sharp the memory, better trajectory of our growth. Students with good memory score better. People with good memory are productive and are appreciated in every field. Suppose you have to memorize list of things, so that you can recall them later when required. Lets try to memorize a random list of things such as follows”

1. Bottle

2. Bag

3. Rocket

4. Pen

5. Stars

6. Road

7. Book

8. Blanket

9. Window

10. Tomato

11. Fish

12. Dustbin

13. Pillow

14. Mirror

15. Iron

Now if I ask you to memorize this list. You will do so by reading multiple times. You may take a minute to memorize it, but if I tell you that you have to recall it in the same order. Moreover you will have to recall it in a reverse order too. You will surely ask for more time to pay more attention to the list and read it more number of times. But if I tell you that you will need this list next month and you will have to memorize it now, and you will not be shown this list again. Will you be sure to recall it in the same order to and fro? In an experiment it has been seen that people hardly remember items in the list after a month, some forget the entire list and some others wonder whether there was any list or not. But what if I tell you there is an effortless method to memorize lists like the one mentioned. It is also fun to learn through this method. It may seem absurd to adults but children enjoy using this method. I assure you that let alone week or a month. You are going to remember this list over an entire year, may be over an entire decade. There is one technique, which you can follow to have a better memory, the technique of visualization. In visualization we make use of our imagination. We can use it in different ways. Those of you who still enjoy being childish are going to love it. Lets us discuss how it works. Lets consider the list mentioned above. We will use our imagination in a weird way to memorize things. Lets take the first item of the list, which is the bottle. When I said weird way we will have to make use of our imagination and in imagination we have freedom to imagine illogical and impossible things. Lets begin.

1. Since bottle is our item number one in the list given above. Imagine a big black numeric 1 holding a bottle in his hand wearing a hat, sitting on a stone and drinking water. Close your eyes and create a clear picture of it in your mind.

2. Now forget about the first picture, lets think about the second object in the list, which is bag. Now we will imagine a big water bottle wearing a red color bag pack and running on highway. It will help us to remember both the bottle and the bag. Once you get this image clear in our head, lets move to the next item.

3. Third item in the list is rocket, now we have to make an association between bag and rocket. Imagine a rocket is willing to fly and it is already burning but there are three bags holding it from different sides and they are not letting it go. The harder the rocket tries, the mightier the bags become.

4. Item no. 4 is pen. Imagine a red color fountain pen fighting with the rocket in a boxing ring. Pen is badly thrashing rocket, punching blows left right and center.

5. Stars:Imagine the same active pen roaming in the sky and jumping from one star to another.

6. Road:imagine a millions of stars falling the road and covering it completely with lights and twinkling.

7. Book: imagine lots of books, including your favorite ones running on a long and broad road.

8. Blanket:imagine a book shivering with cold and covering itself in a blanket.

9. Window: imagine a heavy beautiful blanket of your own flying in the sky with four windows holding its four corners. Flying a like a carpet of Aladdin.

10. Tomato: imagine a tomato sitting on a window and calling your name from behind.

11. Fish: imagine a tomato wearing a hat and fishing on a bank of river.

12. Dustbin: imagine a fish throwing dustbin contents in a heap of trash.

13. Pillow: imagine a dustbin sleeping over a fluffy pillow.

14. Mirror: imagine a pillow making a hairstyle in a mirror.

15. Iron: imagine a mirror man ironing a shirt.

Remember to create clear picture of each association in your mind before moving to the next. That is how you are going to remember it. If you do not remember it, means you have not visualized the association properly between the two objects. Now without looking at the list lets try to recall the list. First item in the list was bottle, how did you recall it; simply a big black numeric one was drinking water from bottle. Second item in the list was. What was bottle doing, bottle was running on the road with the red color bag pack. What were those little bags doing? They were pulling a rocket, this gives our fourth item, rocket was fighting with the pen in a boxing ring, and pen is our fifth item. Now what was pen doing, it was jumping from star to star, means sixth item in out list was star. What happened to the stars, they fell down from the sky and started twinkling on the road, therefore our seventh item is road. Who was running on the road, yes they were our books, eighth item is books. What was that one big book doing, it was feeling cold and was shivering, it was wrapped in the blanket, and ninth item is blanket. Blanket was flying like carpet of Aladdin holding four windows on four corners, ninth item was a window. Who was on the window calling your name; yes it was tomato. Tenth item was tomato. What else was tomato doing, he was fishing, and this gives us our eleventh item, which is fish. Fish was holding a trashcan and was going to throw its contents in a heap of rubbish. Our twelfth item was dustbin. What was dustbin doing, sleeping on a fluffy pillow, pillow is our 13th item. Pillow was also watching himself in a mirror and combing his hair, our 14th item is mirror. And finally what was mirror man doing. He was ironing the shirt. Iron is our 15th and last item. Now if I tell you to recall an entire list in reverse order, you can do it easily. Our last item in the list was iron. What was before, simply recall the association. Mirror man was ironing, means it was mirror. Who was combing hair in the mirror; yes a pillow, so on and so forth.

Similarly if I name any item in the list, with the help of this method you will be able to recall what was before it and what is after it. For example if I tell you what was before tomato. You will recall the image as what was tomato doing, he was sitting on a window calling your name, means the item before tomato was window and he was also fishing in a pond wearing a hat, means the next item to tomato was fish. It consumes little more time than the traditional method of learning but you memorize things forever. This method is useful to memorize tangible items. In order to memorize abstract things such as concepts etc. we need to first associate names of abstract things to something, which we can imagine and then make an association to the other abstract item in the same manner. For example if a science students has confusion whether cation represents a positive charge or a negative charge, you can simply divide the word cation into cat and ion. Now in between the two words you can imagine a cat. You can visualize a big black cat with red plus (+) written in between two eyes. After doing this you will never forget that cation means positive charge and anion, which is the opposite charge naturally means negative charge. Similarly, if a lawyer has to memorize Section 343 IPC which means wrongful confinement for more than three days. Visualize numeric 3 dressed like a thief with the gun in his hand, now imagine two 3’s guarding a cell imprisoning numeric 4. ‘’4’” is sitting inside a cell in distress, an iron clock is showing 3’Oclock. Whenever you get to read Section 343IPC you will immediately visualize this image and recall it means wrongful confinement, because “4” was confined by two 3’s & time was 3 O’clock representing confined for 3 days. With this method you can help kids to memorize capitals of states, countries, currencies, languages and much more. On using method of visualization you will discover new and unique ways to memorize. Wish you a powerful memory, and a bright future.

—The author is an Advocate at the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and can be reached at : sufi@