Mnemonics II – The Link System

Need to remember a list of items?  Maybe going to the grocery store?  The link system is a simple, fast way to chain together different things in a way that you can quickly commit them all to memory for full retrieval.  This is another use of the visual association principle of absurdity.  Suppose your partner calls you while you’re driving and asks you to get some milk, a dozen eggs, chives and nutmeg.  I’m using a short list for illustration, but dcJohn linksthe method can be used for any size list.  The basic idea is that you create an unusual image to link each item to the next one.  So in this case you could picture a dozen eggs sitting out on a counter, and then a carton of milk jumping up and down by itself like a pogo-stick, smashing the eggs!  Next, link the eggs to the chives.  You could continue the same image, imagining the chives leaping into the smashed eggs.  Or you could use a separate association from eggs to chives, such as seeing some chives growing up out of the ground and then sprouting eggs at the top as if they were flowers.  To attach nutmeg to chives, picture putting the chives in a nutmeg grinder and grinding them up.  So you can see the links are limited only by your imagination.  Once you have the links established you can go back and forth in the list at will, but they will all be chained solidly together.  Like all these methods, the more you practice the faster you get, and it can be entertaining exercise for your creativity at the same time.  Just don’t end up bringing home the pogo-stick.

[Photo credit: dcJohn – License]

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