- Jul 2022
Marshall, in looking at your cards, I'm curious how easy/hard you feel it is to remember longer portions of full quotes like your H.L. Menken example using only spaced repetition? I usually find it far more taxing and not as long lasting as using other more classical mnemonic methods (method of loci/songlines).
Piotr Wozniak has some material on creating/designing more concrete cards for spaced repetition that I've found generally helpful. I know that Andy Matuschak and Soren Bjornstad have some ideas, experience, and research in the space but I've yet to see more deep research on the effectiveness of these more specific practices at scale or beyond the anecdotal.
- Apr 2022
It shouldn't escape the mnemonists' attention that while Wozniak recognizes some basic attributes of memory and mnemonics, he obviously isn't steeped in the traditions of the art of memory. Specifically he doesn't seem to be aware of associative methods beyond peg systems and some low level basics which he's come across via Tony Buzan. He's also missing the major system and the method of loci in general. However, when looking at his list of "Twenty rules of formulating knowledge", the majority of the items on the list are either heavily informed by the memory canon within classical rhetoric. Some of the items on the list actually move in an opposite direction from good memory principles (his admonitions against sets and enumeration), but it's because Wozniak is explicitly missing some of the basic mnemotechnical tools.
Have any writers on space repetition gone beyond Wozniak's state of the art with respect to mnemotechniques before?
I had started it and lost it due to a technical glitch, but it might be worth highlighting the places where Wozniak's list either directly dovetails or diverges from the arts of memory. His list could be dramatically improved and compressed by brining it closer in line with the fourth canon of rhetoric.
Who created SuperMemo? ::: Piotr Wozniak
Rely on emotional states If you can illustrate your items with examples that are vivid or even shocking, you are likely to enhance retrieval (as long as you do not overuse same tools and fall victim of interference!). Your items may assume bizarre form; however, as long as they are produced for your private consumption, the end justifies the means. Use objects that evoke very specific and strong emotions: love, sex, war, your late relative, object of your infatuation, Linda Tripp, Nelson Mandela, etc. It is well known that emotional states can facilitate recall; however, you should make sure that you are not deprived of the said emotional clues at the moment when you need to retrieve a given memory in a real-life situation
This section reads as if it was lifted from any of the treatises on the art of memory over the last 2000 years.
Piotr Wozniak seems to have independently rediscovered the value of the arts of memory from ancient rhetoric.
He advises to use the "vivid or even shocking" to "enhance retrieval".
He even goes so far as to recommend that people who use the bizarre to keep those images for their private consumption.
You should avoid such items whenever possible due to the high cost of retaining memories based on sets.
Piotr Wozniak recommends against avoiding memorizing sets and prefers enumerations.
Is this a result of his not knowing the method of loci as a means of travelling through sets and remembering them easily? It's certainly evidence he wasn't aware of the as a general technique.
He does mention peg techniques, mind maps, and general mnemonic techniques.
Before you start believing that mastering such techniques will provide you with an eternal solution to the problem of forgetting, be warned that the true bottleneck towards long-lasting and useful memories is not in quickly memorizing knowledge! This is indeed the easier part. The bottleneck lies in retaining memories for months, years or for lifetime! To accomplish the latter you will need SuperMemo and the compliance with the 20 rules presented herein. There have been dozens of books written about mnemonic techniques. Probably those written by Tony Buzan are most popular and respected. You can search the web for keywords such as: mind maps, peg lists, mnemonic techniques, etc.
Dr. Piotr Wozniak was apparently aware of at least some mnemonic techniques, but didn't rely on them heavily. Was this the result of the fact that he was pushing a product which he relied on for income? Was there something else?
Why didn't he more tightly integrate the two ideas?
- formulating knowledge
- Tony Buzan
- method of loci
- spaced repetition
- Piotr Wozniak
- Twenty rules of formulating knowledge
- fourth canon of rhetoric