How To Use The Loci Method To Unlock Your Memory’s Potential

How To Use The Loci Method To Unlock Your Memory’s Potential

The Method Of Loci | Loci Method

If you’re looking for a great way to boost your memory, becoming a loci method master may be your best bet.

The method of loci is one of the best memory techniques used by top medical students and memory champions alike.

It’s based on the idea of using structuring key ideas into a vivid mental image.

Based on my own experience, I’ve found the method of loci to be the best memory tool for quickly memorizing complex information.

The following article goes in depth into this type of memory training and explains how you can easily implement it into your life.

Why The Loci Method (Method of Loci) Is The Best Memory Tool

This amazing mnemonic technique was developed by old ancient greek poet Simonides of Ceos.

The method of loci is a unique and very effective way of enhancing one’s memory.

The “loci” in the loci method refers to locations as individuals have to link memory to locations.

The loci method or Mind palace method is superior to other memory technique methods (such as the Leitner system) because it ensures a sequential and orderly retrieval of information.

According to one study, the mnemonic technique i.e. method of loci leads to significant improvement in memory formation. thus, making it one of the best working memory-improving techniques.1Ayisha Qureshi et al, The method of loci as a mnemonic device to facilitate learning in endocrinology leads to improvement in student performance as measured by assessmentsAdv Physiol Educ. 2014

Another reason which sets apart the method of loci from other learning and mnemonic techniques is a significant improvement it makes in depression patients.

Depression gravely impairs the ability of patients to retain and easily recall self-affirming memory in daily life.

As compared to other mnemonic methods, the method of loci is the only one that improved memory recall in depression patients. 2Tim Dalgleish et al, Method-of-Loci as a Mnemonic Device to Facilitate Access to Self-Affirming Personal Memories for Individuals With Depressionaps. 2013

Method of loci is a mnemonic technique and mnemonic strategies directly impact brain function.

Memory champions and memory athletes show distributed connectivity changes due to their use of mnemonic devices, thus, memory techniques can be used by naive subjects for superior memory.3MartinDresler et al, Mnemonic Training Reshapes Brain Networks to Support Superior Memorysciencedirect. 2017

You can also apply this technique in daily life.

The method of loci is easy yet powerful so people of any age can adopt it to retrieve information and have a strong memory.

The loci technique uses an elaborative rehearsal strategy that is an effective way of improving long-term memory.

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How To Use The Loci Method

Orators in ancient Greece and Rome would create mental images of the points of their speech using the method of loci.

The method of loci is used by creating key points as objects and placing them in a specific location along the way (Romans/Greeks visualized routes of their cities or any other familiar routes).

The learner can then recollect memorial content and key ideas by carrying out a mental walk on the familiar route.

You can use the loci strategy for memorization of various aspects or complete concepts in very easy steps.

First, you have to imagine a very familiar location, as in a well-tread route you know well.

Your way to the office or institute (college campus, etc.) is an excellent option.

The journey method requires your visualization of the route to be very precise and detailed as you have to memorize every single part of it.

Now you should play the key points and items (mentally) at the memorized locations i.e. mentally place the concepts and items at various locations (memorized).

So, every time you have to recall the information in the correct order, you just have to mentally walk through the locations.

A mental walk in loci method is effective and calls for further studies in the field.4Jan-Paul Huttner et al, Imaginary Versus Virtual Loci: Evaluating the Memorization Accuracy in a Virtual Memory Palace HICSS. 2018

Memory Palaces

A memory palace can be explained as a directory/gallery of mnemonic images. It is an imaginary location in the brain.5Jan-Paul Huttner et al, The Role of Mental Factors for the Design of a Virtual Memory Palaceresearchgate. 2018

Memory palaces are effective in the recollection of specific information in patients with misplacing memories.6AncoPeeters et al, Misplacing memories? An enactive approach to the virtual memory palacesciencedirect. 2019

Virtual reality methods such as VR headsets are also being used to create memory palaces.7Jan Paul Huttner et al, An Immersive Memory Palace Supporting the Method of Loci with Virtual Realityresearchgate. 2017

How To Build A Memory Palace

The most prevalent way of building a memory palace is following a journey through a well-known building (like your childhood home).

Visualizations

The visualizations for a memory palace need to be very strong.

You have to plan a whole route of the building. It means visualizing the front door, the shoe rack, the living room, the kitchen, bedrooms, etc.

Memory palaces based on a physical location can prove to be a great memory aid.8Wang Nan & Takayuki Fujimoto , Memory Aid Application Based on Memory Palace TheoryAdvances in Systems Engineering. ICSEng 2021

The latest research finds the virtual memory palace technique to be the most powerful mnemonic device/strategy.9Jan-Paul Huttner et al, Immersive Ars Memoria: Evaluating the Usefulness of a Virtual Memory Palace HICSS. 2020

After memorizing the specific locations of the building, you can take your list (maybe your grocery list) and place them in smaller locations.

You can take a couple of items and place their mental images on a locus of the memory palace (one or a couple of items on one locus).

The sequence of the list should coincide with the location of the palace.

For example, if the first of the ten items (in the shopping list) is books and the start of your palace is the front door, then you can imagine books placed at the front door.

You can use your senses to make the mnemonic images come alive. A little humor to the imagination can help improve memory.

The more graphic and weird the better.

Method of Loci Examples

Method of loci examples ranges from the grocery list and shopping list to memorizing arteries and nerve pathways.

Many medical students and undergraduate students use the method of loci example (memory palace technique) to remember information that is important.10Varun K. Ranpariya, BA et al Virtual reality memory palace: An innovative dermatology education modalityJAAD . 2021

Does Memory Training Improve Overall Memory?

Studies show that memory training brings short-term advancements in the overall memory but does not alter the cognitive status of individuals.11Monica Melby-Lervåg et al, Working Memory Training Does Not Improve Performance on Measures of Intelligence or Other Measures of “Far Transfer”: Evidence From a Meta-Analytic Reviewaps. 2016

As per one meta-analysis, memory training for 6 weeks can improve memory (especially in old people) and intelligence but does not benefit individuals’ cognitive ability and non-verbal reasoning.12Monica Melby-Lervåg & Charles Hulme, There is no convincing evidence that working memory training is effective: A reply to Au et al. (2014) and Karbach and Verhaeghen (2014)Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 2016

Working memory training is a technique linked to the learning of new skills.13Susan E.Gathercole et al, Working memory training involves learning new skillssciencedirect. 2019

Nootropics That Help Improve Memory

Nootropics are smart drugs that enhance memory and cognition.

You can use these natural drugs in conjunction with memory palace and loci method techniques to improve spatial memory.

Methylene Blue

Methylene Blue

Methylene blue is a potent molecule to unleash the full potential of your mind.

As a nootropic, methylene blue is known for its memory-boosting properties. It also imparts a neuroprotective role.

Low doses of methylene blue are safe for consumption and show promising results in imparting neuroprotection while enhancing memory.14Julio C.Rojas et al, Neurometabolic mechanisms for memory enhancement and neuroprotection of methylene blueProgress in Neurobiology. 2012

Animal studies have revealed that consumption of methylene blue (in low doses) enhances spatial memory retention. This is due to an increase in the brain’s cytochrome c oxidase activity.15Narriman LeeCallaway et al, Methylene blue improves brain oxidative metabolism and memory retention in ratsPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2004

The multipotent nootropic is also known for the improvements it makes in extinction memory.16F. Gonzalez-Lima and Aleksandra K. Bruchey, Extinction Memory Improvement by the Metabolic Enhancer Methylene Bluelearnmem. 2004

Citicoline

Citicoline is another nootropic that works marvelously in amping up memory and cognition.

It is regarded as a novel food to enhance attention and mental effort in neurocognitive patients.17Paweł Grieb, Citicoline: A Food That May Improve Memoryresearchgate. 2015

Significant improvement in working memory and overall brain performance has been observed in many studies, especially with the use of citicoline-caffeine beverages. 18Steven E. Bruce et al, Improvements in concentration, working memory and sustained attention following consumption of a natural citicoline–caffeine beveragetandfonline. 2014

Taking citicoline (as a dietary supplement) for 12 weeks leads to superior memory performance especially episodic memory in healthy old individuals. 19Eri Nakazaki et al, Citicoline and Memory Function in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical TrialThe Journal of Nutrition. 2021

Reduction of oxidative stress in the brain with citicoline also improves visual working memory.20Hayder M. Al-kuraishy et al, Citicoline Improves Human Vigilance and Visual Working Memory: The Role of Neuronal Activation and Oxidative StressBasic Clin Neurosci. 2020

As per a meta-analysis, citicoline helps restore neurotransmitter functions in patients with cognitive impairment. 21Mario Fioravanti et al, Citicoline (Cognizin) in the treatment of cognitive impairmentClin Interv Aging. 2006

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s mane is a powerful mushroom that imparts multiple beneficial effects on brain health.

Positive effects of lion’s mane range from neuroprotection to improved cognition.

Dietary supplementation with mushrooms (reishi and lion’s mane) has been shown to improve cognition in patients with cognitive impairments.22Amelie Nkodo, A Systematic Review of in-vivo Studies on Dietary Mushroom Supplementation for Cognitive Impairment Current Developments in Nutrition. 2019

As per a study published in the International journal of medicinal mushrooms, the lion’s mane mushroom performs neuroprotective activities in the body.23Puei-Lene Lai et al, Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from MalaysiaInternational Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2013

It not only protects you from neurodegeneration and cytotoxicity of the brain but also promotes nerve generation.

Lion’s mane extract is known to enhance hippocampal neurogenesis which results in an anti-depressant effect. It also improves mood.24Sun Ryu et al, Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse BrainJournal of Medicinal Food. 2018

Thus, individuals using the loci technique can get superior memory by the combination.

By improving hippocampal neurogenesis, mushroom supplementation positively alters spatial memory.25Paola Rossi et al, Dietary Supplementation of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), and Spatial Memory in Wild-Type MiceInternational Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2018

Bacopa Monnieri

Aging can gravely impact the cognitive skills of an individual. To halt this process of neurodegeneration, people entering the later stages can take bacopa monnieri.

Results of different trials showed that the herbal supplement aided in the retention of new information.26Steven Roodenrys Ph.D et al, Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on Human MemoryNeuropsychopharmacology. 2002

When given to healthy oldies of Australia, bacopa monnieri significantly improved the retention and acquisition of memory.27Annette Morgan John Stevens, Does Bacopa monnieri Improve Memory Performance in Older Persons? Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trialliebertpub. 2010

Similarly, it was revealed in a detailed study that bacopa supplementation for 12 weeks can improve cognition, attention, and working memory by suppressing the activity of AChe activity in the brain.28Tatimah Peth-Nui et al, Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems in Healthy Elderly Volunteershindawi. 2012

Thus, you can add bacopa to the diet when using the loci software.

Huperzine-A

The famous Chinese herb extract is given to Alzheimer’s patients due to its impact on cognitive functions.29Guoyan Yang, Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trialsplos. 2013

Huperzine-A effectively imparts a neuroprotective role and relieves memory deficits in old patients with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.30Wang R. · Tang X.C., Neuroprotective Effects of Huperzine Akarger. 2005

The neurotrophic effect of huperzine-A can be utilized in the management of cerebral ischemia patients.31Zhi-feiWang et al, Effects of huperzine A on memory deficits and neurotrophic factors production after transient cerebral ischemia and reperfusion in micesciencedirect. 2006

HupA also has anti-seizure activity, therefore, the herb can collectively be used as an anticonvulsant and a memory enhancer drug.32UgurDamar et al, Huperzine A: A promising anticonvulsant, disease modifying, and memory enhancing treatment option in Alzheimer’s diseasesciencedirect. 2017

Magnesium

The mineral magnesium is a potent biohacking element.

Magnesium deficiency is linked to decreased memory and cognitive abilities.

Studies suggest that magnesium supplementation enhances neurotransmission in the brain which causes learning and memory enhancements.33InnaSlutsky et al, Enhancement of Learning and Memory by Elevating Brain Magnesiumsciencedirect. 2010

Therefore, the mineral is also used to enhance spatial memory and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients. 34Ying Huang et al, Magnesium boosts the memory restorative effect of environmental enrichment in Alzheimer’s disease miceonlinelibrary wiley. 2017

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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for HolisticNootropics.com and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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