I finally figured out what a Memory Palace is

I am still following on the older Introduction of Psychology course by Coursera. I'm on the fifth week lectures on memory, where I was linked to this very good TED Talk by Joseph Foer.

He spoke about his adventure in training his brain to perform amazing feats of memory that people have actually mistaken it as being a savant.

I learnt a lot watching the 20-minute video. He was very interesting and engaging that the 20 minutes did not feel long at all. And I finally learnt about The Memory Palace.

The thing is this: I couldn't believe that even after watching many TV programmes that made references to The Memory Palace, I did not know what it was. I had in mind my brain like in the cartoon The Numskulls and was wondering how can one compartmentalise the brain to keep memories.

Now I realized it is not about compartments in my brain but it is in using any building that is familiar to me, e.g. my home, office, church. It's in imagining the building in my mind and using every imagined area in the building to store memories by mentally putting things in there that I can relate to what I want to remember.

Check this video for more information.

I tried The Memory Palace and succeeded in memorizing Psalm 1. It was fun and not hard at all.

By the way, a new Introduction to Psychology course by Professor Steve Joordens has just been put up and the next session will begin on 5th October 2015. I'm looking forward to it.



  1. very interesting. Mind sharing how you used M.Palace to memorize Psalm 1? :)

  2. Hi...might be tough to explain it in details. I used my office and imagined a man looking contented aka blessed at the lift door and as I stepped in, I imagined a mouth and hand cupping it as if to tell something, and so and so forth...hope you get the idea. Why don't you try it with a place you are familiar with yourself :)

  3. ahh so the hand cupping the mouth gives reference to "the counsel of the wicked"? If so then this method may be good for memorizing key points, but not word-for-word...I guess word-for-word still depends on repetition heh. Interesting discovery. :)

  4. Yea, not word for word I must admit. But it is still better than nothing -- with remembering the points, it gets you to remember the psalm verbatim better. However, in one area of the room, I picture a huge block of the letter T and the number 4, to remind myself that the verse begins with a "therefore". Haha.
    I also use it to remember phone numbers - I used my house as the MP this time. I still remember those two numbers I have been unable to remember for the longest time.

  5. I like your T4 idea! Visualization is probably still the best go-to hehe. I also use exaggerated hand gestures (kinda kinesthetic) to help me remember the first word as though I were preaching aloud to myself. Oddly enough, it works sometimes haha.
    First time hearing about memorizing numbers with MP though - you'd have to create strong concrete associations with the abstract numbers. But chunking numbers is what I normally do.

  6. I'm more visual I think and less kinesthetic. I saw the topic chunking in some MOOC lectures. Now that you mentioned it, I better go check it out. Taking about memorizing, I now have to memorize lyrics from 63 pages of music sheet score!!! It's for Christmas this year, and we are doing a musical complete with costumes and all. For now, just learning the tunes but will have to dig in to memorize the words already. I really don't know how I'm going to do it.

  7. Whoa...63 pages, that is too much lyrics for the congregation to deeply meditate on. Just kidding hehe. But music really does wonders for our memory, doesn't it? My most memorable memories from childhood and teenage days are the songs I listened to. With regular hearing and singing, I'm sure you can do it, sister, line upon line, a little here, a little there. Keep on keeping on, with and for the Lord! :)

  8. Thanks Chambers. Btw, I've enjoyed our bantering here. You don't keep a blog? I will be nice to keep our chit chat going :)

  9. Haha I used too keep a blog, but gave up because it takes a lot of commitment. :( My name is Clement, by the way, and I follow you on Goodreads and this blog. Yea it will be great to continue stimulating each other's mind! Really enjoyed our banter. :)

  10. Hi Clement :) Thanks for following me. I think I have mostly silent "followers" haha. But yea, blogging does take a lot of time and commitment but to me writing is therapeutic. Except when nothing happened for the day or I was too busy to have anything interesting going in my mind worth blogging about. But I stick on. Talk soon.


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