Memory Palace for Maximum Situational Awareness

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#1 3 February, 2017 - 12:46
Joined: 1 year 5 months ago

Memory Palace for Maximum Situational Awareness

I've been interested in memory palaces ever since I read "Moonwalking with Einstein" and I have been interested in developing situational awareness ever since I read this article ( Would it be possible to create a Memory Palace specifically dedicated to situational awareness, so for example I store information about what people look like, what they are wearing, and maybe even licence plates for a given location. I would eventually want this process to become second nature to me. Also it would be impractical to hold on to that information for a long time, so perhaps after a certain amount of time, say a day, or after you leave that location you erase the information and store new information. Is this possible?

3 February, 2017 - 17:27
Joined: 6 years 3 months ago

It is an interesting idea you are talking about. I am confuse on why you would want to remember that information. You are trying to remember a lot of info just to forget it a day later. I just made a blog post talking about how to forget information you can check out:

It will be hard to reuse a memory palace right away because of all the ghost images you have. I am still trying to figure out how to make it so you just learn the information without thinking about it.

4 February, 2017 - 03:49
Joined: 3 years 2 months ago

Basically you want autistic senses, which is a first to me haha.

As someone who has this "ability" naturally, I can't tell you how to master it, but I can tell you some experiences. I can see when things have changed, I can walk into a room and say something has changed in a specific corner since a few weeks before, though I can't say exactly what it was before. Same with clothes, I can see when someone changes their clothes, but I can't always remember exactly what they wore before. While you want to take it a step further, I would definitly not.
My current awareness is already extremely tiring, often leading to annoying and sometimes painful mental exhaustion headaches, similar to those sometimes found in burn-out patients.

In order to really do this effectively, you need way more skills to develop that most dont have naturally. You need to be able to shift attention unbiassed for an objective view of your surroundings (which humans do not have, as shown by the viral picture of "the dress", which was blue-black according to some, white-gold according to others.). You need the ability to see the whole image, envision it as individial separate elements, analyse those and then turn it back into the whole image. You need to surpass your attentional bias and focus. Humans are not naturally made for that.

25 May, 2017 - 00:48
Joined: 1 year 2 months ago

I think this can be done. The same way that people use 'linking' with people's names and faces. That's what they are focusing on so they create an image linking association. If it were me doing this, I could use an existing reusable 10 Loci Memory Palace (as you're not going to need to remember this information after your 'situation') or use one Loci in another longer Memory Palace + the Nook & Cranny method for 10 items, or would use one of my existing number peg lists (Rhyming Numbers, Shape Numbers, etc.). Either way, I would take a list of 10, and create a situational awareness checklist associated with those numbers that I could quickly run through each time and associate an image (with the answer) to each peg.

Using the Rhyming Numbers peg-list it and a totally original 'situation' ;) it could look like this:

1 - Sun - Temperature of room (is the sun hot or cold)
2 - Shoe - Number of people in room (put the number of people inside the shoe)
3 - Tree - Exit locations (put a tree in each exit location - or imagine the Tree people from LOTR holding the preferred exit locations open for you)
4 - Door - Likely place where a gun can be found (see the location, then slam the door on it to keep it secret)
5 - Hive - Who can handle themselves in a fight? (imagine a hive of bees swarming that person to help you win the fight)
6 - Sticks - License plates of the cars outside (associate the license plates with another system i.e. Major + Alphabet then play the drums with the drumsticks on the different license plates)
7 - Heaven - How fast you can run at this altitude before your hands start shaking (associate that time to God telling you this from heaven to be careful)
8 - Gate - Catch the sight-lines (put a mental gate at each of the angles in the room where there is an unobstructed sight-line to you from outside where an assassin could be lurking based on your intended destination)
9 - Vine - What is the weight of the waitress? (imagine a vine snaking/crawling through whatever the number is)
10 - Hen - Any cute girls? (in case no assassins show up)

Cool exercise. I think I'll try this myself actually. :)

28 May, 2017 - 02:23
Joined: 1 year 6 months ago

It's an interesting topic.

I really recommend you the book of G Thompson "Dead or alive" about situational awareness. The three colour panels should be of great interest in your researches.

Note: There are now strong evidences that the use of Loci can alter the mood in a positive way (depression study)
Be careful to not alter it in a negative way by constant negative searches...

(That why i think the book may interest you.There a clever approach about checking without geting constantly worried)

30 June, 2017 - 08:45
Joined: 1 year 2 months ago

Good recommendation Venant. I'll check it out. I dig this stuff.

23 September, 2017 - 05:29
Joined: 10 months 2 weeks ago

That is an interesting article. I don’t know that a memory palace is quite the right tool for the task however, at least not in the moment. Even Moonwalking with Einstein noted that external stimuli make it difficult to memorize with memory palaces. (I think I’m not wording it correctly but you know what i mean? He talked about using earmuffs and a blindfold when working with a loci method.) That’s like the polar opposite of situational awareness. I also just observe that when I am committing something to memory I am often spacing out a bit.

So I would imagine what would be be better is trying to focus on your senses and limiting loci to a minimum with just numbers and data oriented objects. Everything else in the room, imagine yourself licking it or something. You stay in the moment, super aware, and you get extra sensory data about everything that will no doubt last longer than usual.

25 September, 2017 - 00:07
Joined: 1 year 8 months ago

Perhaps you could make a habit of mentally reviewing what you have seen. ie you walk into a bar and sit down then mentally review what you saw as you walked in.

There is a yogic technique for improving memory - reviewing your day backwards at the end of each day. I think this trains your mind to 1) pay attention at the time 2) see more clearly in your mind's eye 3) get used to recalling what you have seen 4) the review reinforces the memory.

Apparently brain training is very specific. ie if you train to do one thing then you get good at that one thing. But that's all you get - it doesn't necessarily improve other areas of the brain. So if you want to be more situationally aware then it seems to be a matter of determining the exact skill you want to develop (ie noticing people, threats, exits) and then practice, practice, practice.

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