Ridiculous Associations

Which is better for remembering something, to allow your memory to inadvertently make its own associative patterns, or to consciously create your own memory associations?

Associative patterns are the unique binding factors in memory.

Great writers of fiction have the marvelous ability to have you automatically create internal visualizations when you read their words.

To remember facts, speeches, conversations or magazine articles, you can learn to create these internal images for yourself.

Your memory can become powerful by creating exaggerated, ridiculous images, sounds or feelings involving wild, outlandish or sexually oriented material in your associations.

For example, to remember a short grocery store list --- tuna fish, celery, beans and bread -- create the mental image of a tuna with celery stalks sticking out of its gills swimming on a slice of bread and defecating beans from its anus.

Now memorize the following list of 12 words in the next 2 minutes using ridiculous, associative patterns (including action and sensory oriented ones), and keep the words in the arrangement that they are presented.

Connect your associations so that you have 4 mental pictures of 3 words each.

Then cover them up and write them down on a sheet of paper.

For an example, you could visualize an angry snail jumping up and down in the snow for the first group of 3 words.

1) TEMPER SNAIL SNOW 2) LEOPARD CAMPER ARTERY 3) MOUNTAIN MIDGET STAR 4) LAKE LIGHT DOOR If you remembered all the words from the previous group, but had trouble remembering their exact order, simply stack each visualized group of three, one upon the other.

For instance, the previous 12 words could have been remembered in this way: First, visualize a sloping incline going upwards.

Then imagine an angry snail jumping up and down in the snow at the bottom; followed by a leopard pulling out the arteries of a camper while sitting on a ledge above the snail, followed by a midget climbing up the slope of a mountain chasing a small darting star; and at the top is a mountain lake displaying a bright luminescent light with a giant book floating in the middle of it.

With this group of words, memorize them by using contrasting and absurd color combinations in your visualizations.

For example, for the first group of three, you could visualize a large red polka dotted coin sticking out of the mouth of a blue monkey sitting on a giant yellow striped letter.

1) COIN MONKEY LETTER 2) CENTER BUILDING MEAT 3) KEY HALO TEACHER 4) DOOR FISH CLOUD To remember the following chores for the day by stacking,.

1) Purchase a ham, a flashlight and a mousetrap.

2) Pay your phone bill.

3) Get fuel for the oil burner.

4) Send your mother a birthday card.

you could create a image of a ham with a flashlight blinking on and off sticking out of the top of the ham; and a mousetrap snapped shut on top of the flashlight; then a ringing phone on top of the mousetrap and its cord wrapped around the mousetrap; then a spouting, miniature oil derrick on top of the phone; and your mother sitting on the spouting oil reading your card.

One further note: There is clear evidence that memories are very state dependent.

If you are happy, fearful, listening to music, drunk, smoking or positioned in a favorite chair when learning something, the memory of that same something will be better recalled when you are in that same state again.

It appears that linkages with emotion and sensory involvement bring about associative connections to further your recall.

Since oftentimes it is not feasible to recreate a particular state in reality, it can nevertheless be accomplished through visualizing that same state internally.

Now apply these principles to your own learning material, and create ridiculous associative visualizations for better recall.

Personalize your ridiculous associations in some way with all your material to be remembered.