How vivid visualization skills are required to become proficient in Loci method?

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#1 21 June, 2014 - 13:02
Joined: 3 years 6 months ago

How vivid visualization skills are required to become proficient in Loci method?

Hi, I was wondering how good visualization is needed to use freely this method. I assume that vivid imagination is required to memorize images, bot how about "raw data" like passwords and other information other then visual?

As for my current visualization skills, if i try to imagine something, I can't see it vividly. I just know shape, color and some of details, but when I close my eyes and try to visualize object I don't have vivid representation. I would say I see less then more accurate something in general blackness with some white noise in background (kind of, something like you see when there is no signal from antenna in tv, this black and white random mosaic, Only not that bright, kind of black and dark gray. And among that there is object which is not much distinguishable from background). My dreams are fairly vivid, that is before I wake up, then when I try to recall what I saw in them I mostly know how vivid was dream rather then seeing images that I try to recall. I did had few really vivid dreams, in one i become lucid but again when I woke up I rather remembered that dream was vivid and details rather re-imagine them.

Now my second question is: Would pour visualization skills stand in way of starting to use method of Loci and starting to build memory palace? Of course along side I would work on improving those visualization skills or would be better to first improve visualization then start to build palace?

22 June, 2014 - 01:56
Joined: 3 years 5 months ago

Hello Vizjrei,
I am Sid and I am also new to memory palaces. I started just a week back.

Your visualisation skills will develop along the way, for now I think you just need visualise your palace in detail which shouldn't be hard if you have chosen a place that you know well for your palace. Some place like your home.

22 June, 2014 - 02:39
Joined: 3 years 5 months ago

Hi Vizjrei,

I'm also a beginner, just like memsid started around one week ago :)

I have the same problem, my visualization skills are really poor and I wondered if this could cause problems when starting with Memory Palaces. E. g. I fear to mix up Loci that are similar like two tables in two different rooms.
But more experienced users told me that this is quite unlikely.

Still I think I should try and train my visualization skills. Perhaps there are special exercises or games for that purpose? Does anyone know?

But nevertheless you can start working on your Memory Palace because it has not to be perfect from the first day on and I noticed that thinking about my routes already caused a little training effect.

Greetings and good luck,

22 June, 2014 - 02:49
Joined: 3 years 5 months ago


I found this thread with some interesting tips:

So it seems that you really get better with some practice. I will try and pick an object today, watch it very carefully, then close my eyes and try to visualize it. And then, like they suggested, I'll try to imagine how the object could change in many different ways.
I'm curious if this works :)

22 June, 2014 - 06:22
r30's picture
Joined: 3 years 11 months ago

Hello, Vizjrei!

I have practised method of loci 2 years and also gone through 2 courses about visualization (Silva Method and Theta Healing). These 2 courses required vivid visualization.

Still, every time I start with method of loci I have some visualization problems. E.g. sometimes I'm out of balance and I can't hold the picture in front of me still, it starts shaking like I would watch everything through a camera that is held by my grandmother (I like to call it the earthquake problem :D). Especially when I try to turn myself around in my palace. Next time I can't visualize a sheet of paper in front of me with it being centered and not being tilted towards me. Sometimes I can't visualize things on the left side, they naturally want to be on the right side.

A year ago I did very many exercises to overcome these problems. They didn't work - at least not permanently. I then understood that instead of doing all the exercises in places that are far away from each other, I have to have a single journey where I gradually overcome all my problems. Every time some of my visualization problems occurs I enter that journey and overcome the problem (each time the same way).

In that journey I use Behind->Front Technique, it means I don't rotate myself (not until the very end), but always watch in front of me. Then I start walking backwards from the 1st locus, go to 2nd locus,then to 3rd and so on. This is what I do at the loci of the journey:
1. locus - Make sure the picture in front of me isn't tilted (I want to see in front of me, not the ground or sky)
2. locus - Overcome my earthquake problem (the second difficult for me)
3. locus - Make sure I can visualize stuff on the left side of "the picture". And also up and down and in the center.
4. locus - Fix the perspective. This means that objects that are moving towards me get bigger and the ones going away get smalller
5. locus - Overcome the sheet problem (this is the most difficult for me). The sheet of paper in front of me must not be tilted towards me, without depending whether it is centered right under my nose or far away, on the left side or right side.
6. locus - Objects have to be whole. It means when I rotate and move them they don't brake up.
7. locus - Being able to visualize objects that I take under my attention clearly.
8. locus - From this locus I have to be able to leave the ground and watch the journey above (see the jounrey as a map on a sheet of paper)
9. locus - Being able to rotate myself without the earthquake problem coming back (for me, it's sometimes hard to rotate without falling on the ground or being tilted towards the sky).

The point of moving backwards is that from the 9th locus I can see all the 8 loci in front of me, and thus I have still overcome these 8 problems also (when I turn myself, they I don't see these loci any more and the problems start coming back). Now after having practised a lot I just start from 9th locus and overcome the 9 problems from there.

Now when I go to one of my memory palaces and some of the visualization problems occur, then I just visualize from my current locus that I would be standing at the 9th locus of the journey, and kind of merge the picture of 9th locus with the picture I'm seeing from my current location. This way the 9 problems can be solved anywhere, not just at the 9th locus of my journey.

22 June, 2014 - 13:17
Joined: 3 years 7 months ago

Hi, I've been at memory stuff for a few months and I can memorize a pack of cards in 55 seconds. I would consider myself not very good at visualizing things but there are a few ways to get around it.

1. Pay attention to detail. My best journey is my house because it's something I see everyday. It's also very good because I look out for as many details as possible such as the tile color, things on top of loci, amount of stuff, and such.

2. Use senses. When I first started out, just trying to visualize was not enough. But when I used all my senses as well as the visualization, I remembered everything. Using my senses helps a lot when I have a missing image. Sometimes I can't see the image but I hear, for example, Star Wars music playing. Oh yes, the image must be a lightsaber. When I memorize a pack of cards, I don't have time to make a strong image. I usually make the image and then add one of my senses. You have to experiment with which sense you remember the best. For me, it's smell and sound.

3. Use emotions. I don't use a lot of emotion but just a small feeling can go a long ways.

4. Focus on a certain point. I sometimes just focus on one part of the image or locus instead of the whole. For me personally, I have to be very specific with things. Whenever I see the Hulk, I see his sweat; when I see the Joker, I hear his laugh; when I see a sword, I see how the light reflects off it.

Some people say that they aren't good at visualizing things and think that this method doesn't work. I think that it doesn't matter if you're aren't good at visualizing things. I hope this helps :)

22 June, 2014 - 16:47
Joined: 3 years 6 months ago

Thank you all for answers and good tips. Your posts not only answer my questions, but also add nice workarounds. Really big thanks! :)
Now all what is left to do is to set up some locations in some testing palaces alongside visualization training... And once those first palaces will pass exam time will come for stargates as fast travel/categorizing system and maybe map or two of big picture to keep everything sorted even better ;) (or at least I hope I won't exaggerate in setting up this system. At least I have such plan at the moment but I will see how it goes. )

11 October, 2016 - 07:04
Joined: 1 year 11 months ago


7 November, 2016 - 21:14
Joined: 1 year 2 months ago

I'm not an expert on visualization but I will offer my thoughts for those having these kinds of problems.

First make sure you know what it is about visualizing that you find difficult.

People report shimmer, tilting etc. as if that is the problem and what could the solution be. Maybe the problem is the kind of images and your requirements for a proper rendering of the image in your mind. What is wrong with shimmering or tilting? If it doesn't hurt your ability to remember things, who cares what is it does? If you are thinking that makes it hard to remember the details then forget about the details.

I constructed a journey for the letter A. I used an Anne of Green Gables to be the person linking all stations in that palace. I went to Google images and searched for images of Anne. I chose an image that I am guessing comes from Japanese Anime. I picked it because I didn't want an image that I would try to make exact with details all flushed out. I just wanted something that reminded me of Anne of Green Gables. If it shimmered or whatever all the better. Because it isn't about Anne of Green Gables. It is about an image, whatever it ends up being, that is distinctive and provides continuity between one station and another.

Chances are if you give up trying to get the exact details and just let the image be whatever it wants to be, half your stability issues will disappear.

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