The Link Method is one of the easiest mnemonic techniques available, but is still quite powerful. It is not quite as reliable as a peg technique, as images are not tied to specific, inviolable sequences.
It functions quite simply by making associations between things in a list, often as a story. The flow of the story and the strength of the visualisations of the images provide the cues for retrieval.
Mind Tools Mnemonic Grades:
Ease of Use - Very simple Effectiveness - Moderate Power - Low Learning investment - Very low Who should use - Anyone
How to use
Taking the first image, imagine associations between items in a list. Although it is possible to remember lists of words where each word is just associated with the next, it is often best to fit the associations into a story: otherwise by forgetting just one association, the whole of the rest of the list can be lost.
As an example, you may want to remember a list of counties in the South of England:
Avon, Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Surrey
This could be done with two approaches, the pure link method, and the story method:
The Link Method
This would rely on a series of images coding information:
Note that there need not be any reason or underlying plot to the sequence of images: all that is important are the images and the links between images.
The Story Method
Alternatively this information may be coded by vividly imaging the following scene:
An AVON lady is walking up a path towards a strange house. She is hot and sweating slightly in the heat of high SUMMER (Somerset). Beside the path someone has planted giant CORN in a WALL (Cornwall), but it's beginning to WILT (Wiltshire) in the heat. She knocks on the DOoR (Dorset), which is opened by the DEVil (Devon). In the background she can see a kitchen in which a servant is smearing honey on a HAM (Hampshire), making in GLOSsy (Gloucestershire) and gleam in bright sunlight streaming in through a window. Panicked by seeing the Devil, the Avon lady panics, screams 'SoRRY' (Surrey), and dashes back down the path.
Given the fluid structure of this mnemonic, it is important that the images stored in your mind are as vivid as possible, and that significant, coding images are much stronger that ones that merely support the flow of the story. See the section on using mnemonics more effectively for further information on making images as strong as possible.
This technique is expanded by adding images to the story. After a number of images, however, the system may start to break down.
The Link Method is probably the most basic memory technique, and is very easy to understand and use. It is, however, one of the most unreliable systems, given that it relies on the user remembering the sequences of events in a story, or a sequence of images.
It is not always immediately obvious if an image is missing from the sequence, and if an element is forgotten, then all following images may be lost as well.