How to create a memory palace/journey

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#1 7 December, 2014 - 12:42
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How to create a memory palace/journey


I have often recommended placing items in journeys, creating journeys, etc, without ever really explaining in detail how to do so. This is the explanation.

A memory palace is a place you can visualize that you store information in, and a memory journey is a path through that place. The memory journey has stops, loci, "stations", which are the places you choose to put information in.

The first step to creating a new memory journey is to explore some new place that you haven't been to. It can be a park, a room, a building, a street, a city, or anything else you can think of. (Note: This is only necessary if you've used all the places you can remember. If you still haven't used some locations, it's not necessary; go to the next step) Walk around the place multiple times, take pictures if you need them, then close your eyes or go somewhere else and try to visualize the whole place. It doesn't need to be visualized in detail, you just need to be able to orient yourself, and "explore" the whole place in your mind. If you can't, revisit the place. If you can, you completed step 1.

Step two is, when you're home or somewhere where you can relax, visualize once again the place you chose. Think of a route you could take to explore the whole thing, or at least most of it. It should have a starting point and an ending point. Follow that route a couple times forwards and backwards. If you don't like it, change it. If you like it, go to the next step.

Step three is to choose loci("stations", stops, locations), where you will store information in. You want each locus(singular of loci) to be unique. A locus is basically a picture; if it looks too similar to another picture(For example: if a couple of your loci are corners, zoomed in, without any distinguishing features), you will confuse them. The starting point for your journey should be locus#1. Following the journey you picked, pick places that look unique. When you get to the end of the journey, go back and go over all the places you picked, making sure to view them from the same angle as you viewed them previously.

That's it, you have now created a journey.

Optional step four: Put a list that you already know(your PAO list for example) into the loci that you chose, in order. That means #01 of your list will go into locus number 1, #26 will go into locus number 26. This will reinforce your loci, enabling you to see if you skipped one, as well as giving you the ability to know what the number of each locus is. For example, if you memorized the presidents of the united states, you could go to any locus and you would know what each presidents 'number' is.

That's all for creating journeys, tell me if I missed something or if you have any questions,

Bateman

PS: Extra step to double the journey: (from r30) First, view all the loci from the same viewpoint, such as always looking at the locus from the top down. That's journey#1. Then, view all the loci you have from a different viewpoint, such as always look at it from the wall it's next to(or whatever it's next to). Journey #2. Different backgrounds make it a different locus, even though it's the same place.

10 December, 2014 - 16:04
Arc
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As someone who has constructed quite a few palaces, but felt shaky on some details, this is exactly what I was looking for. Great post.

I have some questions and thoughts on the nuances of determining loci along a journey. I hear some people say to use a consistent numbering/placement system of stations along journeys, that is, you always place the same number of stations per area or at least in the same method, such as left-to-right + clockwise, like the roman room method. Do you feel adhering to a standard like this is necessary, or beneficial, even when it seems difficult to implement?

The problem I have encountered with this is that some journeys meander quite a bit, and do not lend themselves to putting many loci at a place. This could be due to irregular shaped places, or in video games for example, textures and items are sometimes reused often, which means one station could look far too similar to another. In the video game example, I will be inclined to ignore a part of a room, or some rooms altogether, that look too similar to a previous station in the journey. In addition, sometimes there will be such a striking or large feature in a particular room that my eyes will be drawn to it first, and I want to make it the first locus of the room (since I am imagining myself moving through these places).

My end result is that in many journeys I will have pretty arbitrarily numbered stations along the way, often in clumps. Is this normal? Would you advise against this? Is there some detail to journey construction that can help make even very irregular paths more structured, and possibly yield a greater number of loci?

10 December, 2014 - 16:18
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Great comment :)

(You might be interested in one of my previous posts, Video Game Memory Palaces. )

I've never felt the need to forcefully adhere to a strict number of loci per room. It doesn't seem to offer much benefit other than having a 'round' number, and if you only see 9 images, you'll know you forgot one. If you create your loci correctly, see the above guide :D, you'll remember where to look for images. Also, step 4 gives you the ability to tell what number a locus is, so there's no need for 'round numbers'.

I do however highly recommend always placing loci in the same fashion, the same method. You always know where to go next, where you would place a locus, and it flows easier. Going from room to room, you always know you'll start left, not right. The same thing applies when linking images in a locus, Ben Pridmore for example always does it top to bottom, left to right(someone correct me if I'm wrong). A standardized system like that is good. For the "striking feature", perhaps you could make that feature a mini-palace of itself, so start with it, and follow whatever system you use, then expand onto the whole room.

I also never listened to the rule of keeping evenly spaced loci. Depending how much detail there is, and how much I remember, I either add or remove space. It never bothers me, if I look onto a small detail, the images I place there are smaller.

You could also consider changing the journey in your mind, to make the loci more evenly spaced. This might confuse you if you are still playing the video game however. Or add detail in parts where there isn't much. Morphing the journey is possible.

Bateman

29 December, 2014 - 09:28
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Hi,
I'm new to this website and to creating a memory palace, I've read a few posts on the forum and read and re-read a lot of the things on the wiki pages for getting started and the major system and the FAQ.
I have a few questions though and I could use the opinion of someone with more experience to (hopefully) tell me I'm not doing anything wrong so far.

so first of all let me tell you a bit of what I have now.
I made a dark hallway lit with evenly spaced torches leading to a marble stairway (made it in Minecraft so that I can actually walk through it and see all perspectives).
next I made doors to the left and right that I can walk through in my mind to get to my rooms.
for example the first door to the left (a dark oak door, very sturdy with a gold doorknob) leads to my father's current apartment, then if you walk through it all and go through the backdoor (which in real life leads to the balcony) you get to my dad's previous apartment, go through the backdoor there and you get to the living room of the house we lived in when I was a child, go through the backdoor there and you end up back in the main hallway where we started.

I made it like this so that I could add more rooms after the living room and also because I read that having dead ends is bad, so by linking the backdoor of the last room to the main hallway there's never a dead end.
this is something I would like your opinion on, I don't have any trouble walking through the rooms like that and remembering the journey. from what I've read that seemed to be most important (that it's all logical and easily connected in your mind).

my second question is about the rooms a friend of mine lived in. I spent a lot of time in them a few years back so I know the rooms and the furniture pretty well and I've used his rooms in my memory palace.
the only thing is that there are only about 14 good Loci in each of his rooms. I don't really want to make more because I've used his big furniture for the loci (couch, desk chairs etc.) and I clearly remember these whereas the small details (like a stack of xbox games in the windowsill) are more hazy in my mind.

I know you don't need a fixed number of loci per room so my question is does it matter if there are as few as 13?
I now have 6 rooms with about 180 loci to hook things on in total, one of those has like 70 loci and the others have significantly less.

I would greatly appreciate you opinion :)
thanks in advance.

Arrtemia

29 December, 2014 - 12:42
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It doesn't matter if there are only 13.

That's a good amount of loci for a beginner.

I have a post where I did something similar, here. I made sure however to 'paint' the hallway in lyrics to a song, so it's unique at every point. Also, I drew pictures on each door of where they go, as well as changing each door to 'match' the location(ie: cave= hole in the wall, prison= bars)

Hazy stuff in memory palaces works well enough for me, as long as it's uniquely hazy. Doesn't need to be like a photograph, just unique.

Bateman

29 December, 2014 - 14:58
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Thanks for your reply, it helped lots, especially the thing about uniquely hazy places.
I've expanded my childhood home to include the two upper floors now, I excluded them before because they were a bit hazy in my mind.

you wrote about 'painting' the hallway with the lyrics to a song, I'm not sure I have a clear picture of what you mean.
do you mean having the lyrics written on the wall, or just have each hallways trigger a song you know very well so that when you enter the hallway it starts playing a specific song in your mind?
I do have a lot of songs that trigger a specific feeling or thought depending on what was going on in my life when I discovered the song or listened to it a lot.
for example 'With or Without You' by U2 reminds me of a girl I had a huge crush on and it automatically triggers a certain feeling, so I understand how music can be a strong reminder.

I've also started reading the Sherlock Holmes Memory page, I had completely forgotten about that show.
I remember the megalomaniac you described, when I heard about his memory palace in the show I remember how grande the idea seemed back then, he really made his 'library' sound legendary and impossibly huge.

Arrtemia

(P.S. I haven't explored the forum much yet so if there is an open thread where my line of comments and questions are more appropriate I will move my questions there. this one was just the first I found and it's really helpful and very clearly explained :) )

29 December, 2014 - 15:53
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I just visualized the words, or some visual representation of their meaning, progressing along the walls. I picked songs that are easy to visualize(Eminem)

ie: "Some days I just wanna up and call it quits,
I feel like I'm surrounded by a wall of bricks,
Every time I go to get up I just fall in pits"

Bateman

5 January, 2015 - 18:21
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Joined: 5 years 9 months ago

Hi all. I read some tips of using memory palace while reading ebooks, something like bookshelves or bookmark....I don't know for sure... in the forum but i cannot find it. Do anyone know that link? Thanks a lot.

5 January, 2015 - 18:50
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Anthony Metivier has recommended that previously, I would start there.

Bateman

10 June, 2016 - 13:06
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Hi Bateman,

congrats, it is as excelent post. But I didn't get the idea of step 4. Could you please give me a more concrete example?

Thanks

21 August, 2016 - 22:49
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Hello bateman, i have questions. What do you mean by reviewing it backward? We walk backward like rewind or we just walk the opposite route? Thanks!

20 September, 2016 - 14:03
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I never tried his step about looking at a Loci in a different angle to make it a different Palace.

But I take a different approach then Bateman described, so I'll share it.

Instead of looking at a Loci in one angle, I try to look at it from all around. I try imagining what it would look like from my entrance point, from its right, its left and behind it.

For me, it's a way to make the image more alive.
Seeing it under all angles forces me to see how it interracts with the Loci and the room.

I also make a stop at every 3-5 Loci to look at the whole room instead of just the current Loci I'm at. Once again, it helps to stick everything together, so there's not an item that I forget in a corner or something.

But I guess what Bateman described is a technique you could use if you're confindent enough in the palace and your images.
Instead of looking all around like I do, you'd walk from the entrance to the end without ever looking back.

Then, if you'd decide to enter from the exit. and walk through your palace toward its entrance, then you'd see everything from a new angle, and that would be a new palace to you.

TLDR: You walk forward, but you enter your palace #1 from its end and walk toward its entrance, and that's your palace #2. But Looking every rooms from both sides might be a way to increase the strength of the mnemonics instead of increasing the amount of palaces you have.
Your's to chose.

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