Many effective memorisers today use the 'method of loci' to some degree. Contemporary memory competition was initiated in 1991 and the first United States championship was held in 1997. Part of the competition requires committing to memory and recalling a sequence of digits, two-digit numbers, alphabetic letters, or playing cards. In a simple method of doing this, contestants, using various strategies well before competing, commit to long-term memory a unique vivid image associated with each item. They have also committed to long-term memory a familiar route with firmly established stop-points or loci. Then in the competition they need only deposit the image that they have associated with each item at the loci. To recall, they retrace the route, "stop" at each locus, and "observe" the image. They then translate this back to the associated item.
Memory champions elaborate on this by combining images. Eight-time World Memory Champion Dominic O'Brien uses this technique. The 2006 World Memory Champion, Clemens Mayer from Germany, used a 300-point-long journey through his house for his world record in "number half marathon", memorising 1040 random digits in a half hour. Gary Shang has used the method of loci to memorise pi to over 65,536 digits.
Using this technique a person with ordinary memorisation capabilities, after establishing the route stop-points and committing the associated images to long-term memory, with less than an hour of practice, can remember the sequence of a shuffled deck of cards. The world record for this is held by Simon Reinhard at 21.19 seconds.
The technique is taught as a metacognitive technique in learning to learn courses. It is generally applied to encoding the key ideas of a subject. Two approaches are:
Link the key ideas of a subject and then deep-learn those key ideas in relation to each other, and Think through the key ideas of a subject in depth, re-arrange the ideas in relation to an argument, then link the...
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