Even cavemen had to remember things they saw and sensed in order to survive, so the search for the way to retain memory has been around since the beginning of our time. Cavemen learned through observation, experience, repetition and trial-and-error – much the way we learn today.

The poet Simonides, in 477 B.C., came up with the ‘method of loci’ memory improvement technique. His ability to recall the names of everyone who perished in the collapse of a roof by picturing where they were seated before he left the hall has remained the basis for virtually every memory course in the last 2,000 years.

Basically, the method of loci is to learn information by placing an image in your mind of the certain objects at specific locations. When you want to remember the items in your list you can recall them by pulling the image from the location you placed it in.

In ancient Greece, the method of loci was the “correct” memory improvement technique. The scholar Cicero, in the first century B.C., taught people how to remember a speech by using the method of loci to retain each point. He would mentally stroll through the loci of his house and recall points the student was making as they delivered a speech. During the Renaissance period, royal courts brought in memory specialists to help them to remembering important facts.

In the 1500s, complicated peg schemes were used by members of the courts. Instead of memorizing items by getting a mental image of a physical place they used mental “pegs” organized on an imaginary wall.

Throughout the 1600s and 1700s, memory specialists ignored the method of loci, putting the emphasis more on the learning of ideas and associations. Freud also influenced many students of memory by showing that people forget information when they are depressed or having negative emotions. His theory was that their “repressed” memories were upsetting which caused memory problems.

In 1885 Herman Ebbinghaus’ research showed that although people could learn short lists, long lists were more difficult, and they forgot what they learned very quickly.  Ebbinghaus’ information has influenced many generations of memory researchers.

Within the past few decades, however, with the advance of neuroscience, researchers in the field of health care, psychiatry, and psychology have added to the search for the best way to understand the brain and how it processes and retains memory. They have found there is more involved than simple emotions, memorizing lists or picturing things in your mind. Studies have found the amount of synapse (connections) the brain makes to take things from short term to long term memory is more complicated, and things like environment, socialization, sleep, health, exercise and diet have an impact on how your brain processes and retains information.

The way your brain performs is based on a lot of circumstances. The more neuroscientists are able to find out, and more memory experts will be able to present new methods that will enhance the memory process, including the use of new electronic technology. This new information will do much to help in the development of new ways to help people with brain damage, mental problems and memory loss due to dementia.

My name is Ron White, memory training expert. I am proud to share the information I receive on the advancement of memory training.




Memoryzine.com – Memory Training: The New Approach: http://memoryzine.com/informal-care-givers-are-you-dealing-with-the-memory-impaired/memory-training-the-new-approach-from-pmi/#comment-482