The Major Memory System is one of the two most powerful memory systems currently available. It requires a significant investment of time to learn and master, however once it is learned it is extremely powerful. It is the application of mainly this system that forms the basis of some of the extraordinary, almost magical, memory feats performed by magicians and memory technicians.
Mind Tools Mnemonic Grades:
Ease of Use - Difficult Effectiveness - Very Effective Power - Very Powerful Learning investment - Significant Who should use - People prepared to invest significant time in learning the system.
How to use
The system works by converting number sequences into nouns, nouns into images, and linking images into sequences. These sequences can be very complex and detailed.
The building blocks of the system are the association of the numbers below with the following consonant sounds:
0 - s, z, soft-c - remember as 'z is first letter of zero' 1 - d, t, th - remember as letters with 1 downstroke 2 - n - remember as having 2 downstrokes 3 - m - has three downstrokes 4 - r - imagine a 4 and an R glued together back-to-back 5 - L - imagine the 5 propped up against a book end (L) 6 - j, sh, soft-ch, dg, soft-g - g is 6 rotated 180 degrees. 7 - k, hard-ch, hard-c, hard-g, ng - imagine K as two 7s rotated and glued together 8 - f, v - imagine the bottom loop of the 8 as an eFfluent pipe discharging waste (letter image of F in alphabet system) 9 - p, b - b as 9 rotated 180 degrees.
These associations really must be learned before proceeding.
The system operates on a number of levels, depending on the amount of time a user is prepared to devote to learning the system. The first level, the coding of single digit numbers into consonants and small words, functions almost as a poor relation of the number/rhyme system. It is at higher levels that the power of the system is unleashed, however this level must be assimilated first.
The trick with the conversion into words is to use only the consonants that code information within the word, while using vowels to pad the consonants out with meaning. By choosing letters for your word in the preferential order AEIOU you stand a better chance of being able to reconstruct the image word if you forget it.
If consonants have to be used to make a word, use only those that are not already used - i.e. h, q, w, x, and y
1. Single number words:
The first level codes single numbers into a short noun made up of the number consonant sound and some vowels. On a sheet of paper, write the numbers 1 to 9, and apply these rules to create your own memory words. An example is shown below:
1 - toe 2 - neigh 3 - ma 4 - ray 5 - law 6 - jaw 7 - key 8 - fee 9 - pay
These words can be used in association much like the other peg technique memory words.
2. Double number words:
Similar rules apply to creating a standard word from two numbers. It is best not to try to use single number word as a root, as this can confuse the image.
Add to your list of numbers 1 to 9 the numbers 10 to 99, and apply the rules to create memory words for yourself. A few examples are shown below:
17 - t, ch - tech 23 - n, m - name 36 - m, sh - mesh 41 - r,s - rose 52 - l, n - line 64 - ch, r - chair 75 - k, l - keel 89 - f, p - fop 98 - b, f - beef
3. Triple number words
Just using double number words may be enough to make this a sufficiently powerful mnemonic for you. Alternatively you may decide to use triple number words, using the same construction rules as double number words.
182 - d, v, n - Devon 304 - m, s, r - miser 400 - r, c, s - races 651 - j, l, d - jailed 801 - f, z, d - fazed
Even though words can be constructed from first principles it may be worth writing them down at this level of complexity, and running through them many times to strengthen the link in your mind between the numbers and the associated words. This will enable you to recall the number word faster.
Applying these images
Once you have devised words and images to link to your numbers, you can start to apply the technique to remember long numbers, etc. At as simple level you might decide just to remember a long telephone number. To do this you might just associate a few images together using the link or story technique. Alternatively, to remember a really long number, you might associate words made up of the components of these numbers with stops on a journey (see the journey technique).
The major memory system works by linking numbers to consonant sound groups, and then by linking these into words. By using the images these words create, and linking them together with another memory system, large amounts of information can be accurately memorised if properly coded.