In regards to memory training what is basic association?

Very simply put, basic association is when you associate something with something else because it reminds you of what you are trying to recall. Well, that was as clear as mud….

Let me try it another way. In my memory training seminars the very first thing I start off with is a lesson in basic association. I take 20 nouns and I call them off and see how many the group can recall. I space them out by 5 seconds or so each. At the end of me calling off the twenty words I will then tell the group to write them down. They have to be the right word in the right spot.

The list I give them is:

1. Pencil
2. Sink
3. Circus
4. Track
5. Star
6. Bullet
7. Dice
8. Hour Glass
9. Baseball
10. Bowling ball
11. Goal post
12. Eggs
13. Flag
14. Ring
15. Paycheck
16. Car
17. Magazine
18. Soldier
19. Golf Clubs
20. Shot gun

The  average student the first time they take this memory training test will get 6 words correct. Then I show them what basic association is. We associate with the #1 with a pencil because they both look like a #1. We associate #2 with sink because of the two options (on/off or hot/cold). #3 is a circus because 3 ring circus, #4 track because ¼ mile, #5 star because of 5 points and #6 bullet because of 6 shooter.

For each item we think of an association with the number. Now in all fairness this list was not random. I constructed it because each item there can be something in common with the number. This is basic association – when you find something in common with what you are recalling and memorize it.

The challenge with basic association is that if this list was in a different order you probably wouldn’t be able to find something in common with the number.  Because of this basic association is just what it says…BASIC. You can’t use it to memorize most items. To learn how to memorize poems, quotes, books, numbers, cards and almost everything else you are going to need to get proficient at the method of loci or memory palace method.

So there you have it. Memory by association is a very simple method and basic memory training method. It will be well worth your time to explore the method of loci and memory palace memory training systems.