22 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2022
    1. a phenomenon that psychologists call “thecaricature advantage”: the fact that we recognize a caricatured face even morereadily than we recognize a true-to-life depiction. While a caricature does distortits subject’s actual appearance, it does so in a systematic way, exaggerating whatis unique or distinctive about that individual—thereby making him or her evenmore instantly identifiable.

      Exaggerating the features of people and objects in systematic ways helps people to more easily assimilate both knowledge about them as well as the ability to distinguish between them in an effect which psychologists call the "caricature advantage."

      Link this to using caricature as a mnemonic technique for strengthening one's memory of objects and people.

  2. Mar 2022

      Elizabeth Filips has digital versions of medical school notes online. She's drawn them (in software) by hand with color and occasional doodles in them (there's an image of Einstein's head with an E=mc^2 under it on one page) which makes them more memorable for having made them in the first place, but with the color and the pictures, they act as a memory palace.

      I've found no evidence (yet) that she's using direct mnemonics or that she's been specifically trained in the method of loci or other techniques. This doesn't, however, mean that she's not tangentially using them without knowing about them explicitly.

      One would suspect that this sort of evolutionary movement towards such techniques would have been how they evolved in the first place.

    1. There was a statue still present, not of Baal, but apparently of a god with the head of dog-eared baboon, the representative of the god Thoth, lending credence to the astronomical theory of the pool’s function, Nigro says.

      The presence of a chimerical animal is a potential indicator of mnemonic techniques at work in Phoenician culture.

    1. Back then, Macedonia foundherself increasingly frustrated with the conventional format of foreign-languagecourses: a lot of sitting, listening, and writing. That’s not how anyone learnstheir native language, she notes. Young children encounter new words in a richsensorimotor context: as they hear the word “apple,” they see and touch theshiny red fruit; they may even bring it to their mouth, tasting its sweet flesh andsmelling its crisp scent. All of these many hooks for memory are missing fromthe second-language classroom.

      Most foreign language leaners spend all their time in classrooms or at home sitting down, listening, reading, and writing. This is antithetical to how children acquire language in more natural settings where they're able to move around, interact, taste, touch, smell, etc. as they learn new words in their language. These additional sensory mnemonic techniques add an incredible amount of information and associative hooks to help them remember new words and grammatical structures.

    2. Kerry Ann Dickson, an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology atVictoria University in Australia, makes use of all three of these hooks when sheteaches. Instead of memorizing dry lists of body parts and systems, her studentspractice pretending to cry (the gesture that corresponds to the lacrimal gland/tearproduction), placing their hands behind their ears (cochlea/hearing), and swayingtheir bodies (vestibular system/balance). They feign the act of chewing(mandibular muscles/mastication), as well as spitting (salivary glands/salivaproduction). They act as if they were inserting a contact lens, as if they werepicking their nose, and as if they were engaging in “tongue-kissing” (motionsthat represent the mucous membranes of the eye, nose, and mouth, respectively).Dickson reports that students’ test scores in anatomy are 42 percent higher whenthey are taught with gestures than when taught the terms on their own.

      Example of the use of visual, auditory, and proprioceptive methods used in the pedagogy of anatomy.

    3. There isthe auditory hook: we hear ourselves saying the words aloud. There is the visualhook: we see ourselves making the relevant gesture. And there is the“proprioceptive” hook; this comes from feeling our hands make the gesture

      Gestural mnemonic associations work on three levels: auditory associations, visual associations, and proprioceptive associations.

    4. Research shows that moving our hands advances our understanding ofabstract or complex concepts, reduces our cognitive load, and improves ourmemory.

      movement and gesture as a mnemonic device

  3. Feb 2022
    1. Even thoughelaboration works verifiably well for deep understanding, it might notbe the best choice if you just want to learn isolated encyclopaedicfacts (Rivard 1994).

      For deep understanding the elaboration method may be the best tool, but may not be the best choice for learning isolated encyclopedic facts.

      By learning isolated facts do they really mean memorizing here? In which case, perhaps using mnemotechniques is the best way to create synthetic associative links by which to tie one's knowledge into their other mental frameworks of knowledge. If thought about this way one is really elaborating their knowledge in a synthetic manner instead of more naturally. Either way, you're doing some form of elaborating as a means of assuming the knowledge. Both forms are work, though slightly different.

    1. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-02-09/riverside-sohcahtoa-teacher-viral-video-mocked-native-americans-fired

      Riverside teacher who dressed up and mocked Native Americans for a trigonometry lesson involving a mnemonic using SOH CAH TOA in Riverside, CA is fired.

      There is a right way to teach mnemonic techniques and a wrong way. This one took the advice to be big and provocative went way overboard. The children are unlikely to forget the many lessons (particularly the social one) contained here.

      It's unfortunate that this could have potentially been a chance to bring indigenous memory methods into a classroom for a far better pedagogical and cultural outcome. Sad that the methods are so widely unknown that media missed a good teaching moment here.

      referenced video:


      A snippet at the end of the video has the teacher talking to rocks and a "rock god", but it's extremely unlikely that she was doing so using indigenous methods or for indigenous reasons.

      read: 7:00 AM

  4. Jan 2022
    1. Survivals of this spatially oriented technique still mark our language when we say “in the first place” and “passing on to the next point.”

      The use of mnemonic techniques through history have been crystalized into our language with phrases like "in the first place" and "passing on to the next point".

  5. Nov 2021
    1. Over the years in academic settings I've picked up pieces of Spanish, French, Latin and a few odd and ends of other languages.

      Six years ago we put our daughter into a dual immersion Japanese program (in the United States) and it has changed some of my view of how we teach and learn languages, a process which is also affected by my slowly picking up conversational Welsh using the method at https://www.saysomethingin.com/ over the past year and change, a hobby which I wish I had more targeted time for.

      Children learn language through a process of contextual use and osmosis which is much more difficult for adults. I've found that the slowly guided method used by SSiW is fairly close to this method, but is much more targeted. They'll say a few words in the target language and give their English equivalents, then they'll provide phrases and eventually sentences in English and give you a few seconds to form them into the target language with the expectation that you try to say at least something, or pause the program to do your best. It's okay if you mess up even repeatedly, they'll say the correct phrase/sentence two times after which you'll repeat it again thus giving you three tries at it. They'll also repeat bits from one lesson to the next, so you'll eventually get it, the key is not to worry too much about perfection.

      Things slowly build using this method, but in even about 10 thirty minute lessons, you'll have a pretty strong grasp of fluent conversational Welsh equivalent to a year or two of college level coursework. Your work on this is best supplemented with interacting with native speakers and/or watching television or reading in the target language as much as you're able to.

      For those who haven't experienced it before I'd recommend trying out the method at https://www.saysomethingin.com/welsh/course1/intro to hear it firsthand.

      The experience will give your brain a heavy work out and you'll feel mentally tired after thirty minutes of work, but it does seem to be incredibly effective. A side benefit is that over time you'll also build up a "gut feeling" about what to say and how without realizing it. This is something that's incredibly hard to get in most university-based or book-based language courses.

      This method will give you quicker grammar acquisition and you'll speak more like a native, but your vocabulary acquisition will tend to be slower and you don't get any writing or spelling practice. This can be offset with targeted memory techniques and spaced repetition/flashcards or apps like Duolingo that may help supplement one's work.

      I like some of the suggestions made in Lynne's post as I've been pecking away at bits of Japanese over time myself. There's definitely an interesting structure to what's going on, especially with respect to the kana and there are many similarities to what is happening in Japanese to the Chinese that she's studying. I'm also approaching it from a more traditional university/book-based perspective, but if folks have seen or heard of a SSiW repetition method, I'd love to hear about it.

      Hopefully helpful by comparison, I'll mention a few resources I've found for Japanese that I've researched on setting out a similar path that Lynne seems to be moving.

      Japanese has two different, but related alphabets and using an app like Duolingo with regular practice over less than a week will give one enough experience that trying to use traditional memory techniques may end up wasting more time than saving, especially if one expects to be practicing regularly in both the near and the long term. If you're learning without the expectation of actively speaking, writing, or practicing the language from time to time, then wholesale mnemotechniques may be the easier path, but who really wants to learn a language like this?

      The tougher portion of Japanese may come in memorizing the thousands of kanji which can have subtly different meanings. It helps to know that there are a limited set of specific radicals with a reasonably delineable structure of increasing complexity of strokes and stroke order.

      The best visualization I've found for this fact is the Complete Listing of the 214 Radicals and Major Variations from An Introduction to Japanese Kanji Calligraphy by Kunii Takezaki (Tuttle, 2005) which I copy below:

      A chart of Japanese radicals in columns by number, character, and radical name & variations with a legend for reading the chart

      (Feel free to right click and view the image in another tab or download it and view it full size to see more detail.)

      I've not seen such a chart in any of the dozens of other books I've come across. The numbered structure of increasing complexity of strokes here would certainly suggest an easier to build memory palace or songline.

      I love this particular text as it provides an excellent overview of what is structurally happening in Japanese with lots of tidbits that are otherwise much harder won in reading other books.

      There are many kanji books with various forms of what I would call very low level mnemonic aids. I've not found one written or structured by what I would consider a professional mnemonist. One of the best structured ones I've seen is A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters by Kenneth G. Henshall (Tuttle, 1988). It's got some great introductory material and then a numbered list of kanji which would suggest the creation of a quite long memory palace/journey/songline.

      Each numbered Kanji has most of the relevant data and readings, but provides some description about how the kanji relates or links to other words of similar shapes/meanings and provides a mnemonic hint to make placing it in one's palace a bit easier. Below is an example of the sixth which will give an idea as to the overall structure.

      I haven't gotten very far into it yet, but I'd found an online app called WaniKani for Japanese that has some mnemonic suggestions and built-in spaced repetition that looks incredibly promising for taking small radicals and building them up into more easily remembered complex kanji.

      I suspect that there are likely similar sources for these couple of books and apps for Chinese that may help provide a logical overall structuring which will make it easier to apply or adapt one's favorite mnemotechniques to make the bulk vocabulary memorization easier.

      The last thing I'll mention I've found, that's good for practicing writing by hand as well as spaced repetition is a Kanji notebook frequently used by native Japanese speaking children as they're learning the levels of kanji in each grade. It's non-obvious to the English speaker, and took me a bit to puzzle out and track down a commercially printed one, even with a child in a classroom that was using a handmade version. The notebook (left to right and top to bottom) has sections for writing a big example of the learned kanji; spaces for the "Kun" and "On" readings; spaces for the number of strokes and the radical pieces; a section for writing out the stroke order as it builds up gradually; practice boxes for repeated practice of writing the whole kanji; examples of how to use the kanji in context; and finally space for the student to compose their own practice sentences using the new kanji.

      Regular use and practice with these can be quite helpful for moving toward mastery.

      I also can't emphasize enough that regularly and actively watching, listening, reading, and speaking in the target language with materials that one finds interesting is incredibly valuable. As an example, one of the first things I did for Welsh was to find a streaming television and radio that I want to to watch/listen to on a regular basis has been helpful. Regular motivation and encouragement is key.

      I won't go into them in depth and will leave them to speak for themselves, but two of the more intriguing videos I've watched on language acquisition which resonate with some of my experiences are:

  6. Sep 2021
    1. I want to mix sketch-noting and typing; to insert quick hand-drawn illustrations into my notes such that I can edit those sketches later.

      It dawns on me that in some sense small illustrations and images in a mnemonic like manner are what Dave Winer is doing on his blog.

  7. Jun 2021
    1. He concludes his memory section by defendingvisual mnemonics against authorities like Erasmus who doubt its efficacy.

      Why might Erasmus have doubted its efficacy? Did he use it? Attempt to? Did he have some sort of cognitive defect that may have made it difficult/impossible for him in particular?

    2. He suggests using beasts that stand for letters of the alphabet, andthen assigning images to various parts of each animal—“in the Head, the Bellie, in the Taile, in theformer parte of the legges, & also in the hinder part.”

      I've not often seen (yet?) suggestions of using bestiaries as mnemonic techniques, but here's one in Charles Butler's Oratoriae Libri Duo.

      What other sources used them this way before or after?

      To be clear I'm aware of their use for such, but just haven't read much about them in this period for this particular purpose in these settings.

    3. Wilson next exploresAd Herennium’stechnique of visual homophony, such as remembering a man named Wingfeelde by picturing“thewing of a birde, and a greene feelde to walke in.”

      The use of [[visual homophony]] as a [[mnemonic techniques]].

    4. Methodaids the mental grasping—the memory—of the complex content with which one is engaged; it“relieve[s]theburdenplacedonmemory,”writes Sharon Crowley,“by calling on the assistance of reason”(35).

      I definitely use reason as a memory technique this way.

  8. Apr 2021
    1. Among the many responses to my request for a mnemonic sentencefore, the following seemed to me particularly noteworthy:To expresse, remember to memorize a sentence to simplify this.( John L. Greene, Beverly Hills, California.)To disrupt a playroom is commonly a practice of children.( Joseph J. Guiteras, Baldwinsville, New York.)By omnibus I traveled to Brooklyn. (David Mage, New York, NewYo r k . )It enables a numskull to memorize a quantity of numerals. (GeneWidhoff, Burbank, California.)TheEnciclopedia universal ilustrada, in an article on “Mnemo-tecnia,” gives the following Spanish sentence fore:Te ayudar arecordar la cantidad a indoctos si relesme bien. Several Italian versesforewill be found on page 755 ofMatematica Dilettevole e Curiosaby Italo Ghersi.

      Mnemonic sentences for the number e.

    2. I know of no similar aids in English to recalle, the other commontranscendental number. However, if you memorizeeto five deci-mal places (2.71828), you automatically know it to nine, becausethe last four digits obligingly repeat themselves (2.718281828). InFranceeis memorized to 10 places by the traditional memory aid:Tu aideras rappeler ta quantit beaucoup de docteurs amis.Perhapssome reader can construct an amusing English sentence that willcarryeto at least 20 decimals.



  9. Dec 2020
    1. Constructing Noah’s Arkis representative of a genre, traditional in Hugh’s time andmilieu, of meditational compositions based on the various buildings whose plans aredescribed in the Bible. These included, most notably, the Tabernacle in Exodus 25ff, Solo-mon’s Temple in 1 Kings 6, the Temple and its platform in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 40ff ),the Heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation 20, and Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6). All these structures,including the Ark, were analyzed as avatars of one another, and of Christ and the Church,following the statement in Hebrews 8: 2–6 that Christ is the true tabernacle, the patternof the structure revealed to Moses. One of the earliest representatives of the genre stillextant is Gregory the Great’s set of sermons on Ezekiel 40, though there is good reasonto believe that its origins lie in the meditational practice of the early desert fathers andin Jewish spiritual traditions of the first century.

      Cross reference this with the retranslation of the Temple by In the Footsteps of King David.

      The real (open) question is did this memory tradition date back to the time of David, or was it applied (or reapplied) by classical scholars after the first century? Was it transmitted in oral tradition until put back into writing in the new millenium?

  10. Oct 2020
    1. A nice hook to pull one into some of the reasons why one would want to pick up languages as well as how to do so.

      8:44 method of loci (locorum)

      10:02 Learning words in groups based on related sounds.

      11:22 Why learn languages? Motivation

      Language represents a world cultural view.