Figuring out How Many Locations to Place in a Journey

I found an interesting tip from Ben Pridmore on the Yahoo Memory Sports group1 about how many locations can be created a small area:

Regarding pi, I’ve created a lot of new journeys. Fifty of them, with 111 points on each, to be precise. They are expansions of my competition journeys, using a method that was suggested to me by someone at the German championship last year (and I can’t remember who! I’m thinking Johannes Mallow, but I might be wrong), of squeezing lots and lots of points into one small area, like a room of a house. The living room in my flat, which used to be just one point, now has about fifty different points dotted around it. It’s been a lot of fun creating all these journeys! I think I should start cramming more points into my journeys. In a walk through a city I’ve only been placing about 50 to 75, or just 10 per room.

Mediaeval London

1 Yahoo Groups shut down and the original post isn't available any more.




Yan 19 Sep 2021

I actually read about it on the memory group too. I tried it but I found it difficult to imprint the images in small spaces.

Mike from nakedscience has a similar system too for each room in a house like in the shower, the shower head can be locus 1, the tile locus 2, etc..

I prefer vast and open spaces though, like Dominic.


Josh 19 Sep 2021

I like open spaces too. I'm going to try making one compressed journey like that to see if if it's manageable though.


Dan 19 Sep 2021

I started with the meandering journey method of Dominic O'Brien and found it very effective, especially for a 40-item, work-related presentation. Then I found out about the roman room/nook & cranny/cube. I gravitated toward the nook and cranny because it was neat and ordered with 10 places per room: corner-wall-corner-wall...floor, ceiling. But I realize the meandering journey is clearly more effective. The loci are unique and this adds to memory.

From O'Brien's "How to Develop a Perfect Memory":

"The Greeks had a number of interesting rules for loci. The following are taken from Ad Herrenium:

'Loci should be deserted or solitary places. Crowds of people tend to weaken impressions and distract from the key image. (Guildford is always a ghost town when I use it as a route.)

The students are urged to give 5th locus a distinguishing mark: they should include a gold hand (five fingers) in the scene, for example. On the 10th locus, they should imagine a personal acquaintance called Decimus. (I have always made the 6th, or 11th, or half-way stage stand out in my mind.)

Loci should not be too similar: too many intercolumnar spaces are not recommended, as they might lead to confusion. (I always make sure that my stages are different from each other.)

The intervals between loci should be a particular length: 30 feet.

The loci should not be too large, or too small, too brightly lit, or too dark.

Imaginary places can be used as well as real. It is good to mix both together:give your house an extra floor, etc.' "

O'Brien in his "How to Pass Exams" advocates virtual loci and said video games are a great way to develop loci, and he himself is a video game buff.

Scott Hagwood in his "Memory Power" talks about using the roman room method and suggests using images of rooms from Architectural Digest and similar sources.


Yan 19 Sep 2021

O'Brien's first book is a gem. His later books are just rehashed versions of his first book.

I'm developing journeys based on video games too. It is easy, addictive and there is no need to displace yourself.

Thanks for the tip Dan. I'll try to read Hagwood's book.

Jose Wilson

Jose Wilson 19 Sep 2021

I've tried the method and after some practice works wonderfully for me. I have some palaces organized with around ten locations on each one and when I need to study or learn something I make a journey with 50 to 100 images per locus. And is so good that I reuse the same palace two or three times without make mistakes after review the journey 2 or 3 times as well. Is like walk around on the same street several times. You see different things but still is the same street. So basically you are reusing the path :) Is very simple and you save a lot of time looking for palaces. I memorized 3500 of swedish in three hours using this method, enough to have a good conversation. 3 hours is not bad when you start from scratch ;)


Urfin 19 Sep 2021

Sorry, I feel stupid, but what exactly is this method? I've read the memsports message linked, but it seems just to mention the method, not to describe it. I feel that I'm missing something, especially after reading Jose Wilson's message above: I'd very much like to be able to turn the simple 10-point journeys into 100-point, so what exactly is this method that was suggested to Ben Pridmore? Where can I read more about it? It could be a saver for me, as a beginner I struggle with finding big palaces.

(also I've registered at the forums, but the registration does not seem to work here)

Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen 19 Sep 2021

I think the basic idea is to take your locations and make additional locations from them. If you have 10 locations in a room, you can turn that into many more. For example: one of the locations could be a chair. Instead of only putting one image there, put 10 images around different parts of the chair. You could fit five locations on just the seat of the chair -- one on each corner, and one in the middle.

See also this post:

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