Can I re-use a memory palace? | Anastasia Woolmer

Can I re-use a memory palace?

October 14, 2020

Memory palaces are fantastic for toolkits for your brain, but for those who are new to them, sometimes they can be a little confusing.

I’m often asked: ‘How do you re-use memory palaces over and not getting confused with old information?’ and ‘How can I stop my memory palace filling up?’

Great questions!

First, its important to understand that there are two types of memory palace:
  1. temporary information (like a shopping list, a FedEx delivery, memory training or for a meeting this Friday)
  2. permanent information (like learning the names of all the Japanese vegetables).

You’ll find that memory athletes and those who use mnemonics a lot, have both. Mine range from upcoming meetings, to Pi, to the aforementioned Japanese vegetables!

If you’re unsure if memory palaces actually work – click here to read more: https://anastasiawoolmer.com/how-to-make-and-use-memory-palaces/

Temporary memory palaces

  • Temporary memory palaces can be used once a day and reused over and over on subsequent days.
  • Each new day you just ‘replace’ the new images over the old ones.
  • New students sometimes worry that this won’t work, but once you get going it is fine.
  • If you still find you can ‘see’ yesterday’s information, then you can alternate each day with a different temporary memory palace.

Long term memory palaces

  • For long term learning, you choose a palace where only that information will live (at least until it is in ‘long term’ memory).
  • This is because for long term learning you will want to review the information periodically so that it moves from your short term memory into your long term memory.
  • The memory palace acts as a holding place to help you learn faster in short term memory.

I learn all the Japanese vegetables by mentally placing the appropriate images at my local sushi train. Occasionally, I go back through it to check I still know them all and fix any problem images. It is this review process that  moves this learning into ‘long term memory’. Once this happens I no longer need to see the images.

This does not preclude using other reviewing methods (like Anki) to go over individual vegetable names as well.

Keeping these two types of palaces separate should ensure that your palaces don’t ‘fill up’ or that you get confused.

Need to know more about how to use memory techniques to learn? Check out my course Master Your Memory.

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