Memory Palaces vs. Journeys vs. Mind Palaces vs. Roman Rooms

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#1 6 January, 2016 - 14:54
Joined: 2 years 8 months ago

Memory Palaces vs. Journeys vs. Mind Palaces vs. Roman Rooms

Do you make a distinction between "memory palaces", "memory journeys", and "roman rooms"?

In the early days of this site, we tended to make a distinction between "memory palaces" and "memory journeys". After Moonwalking with Einstein, many people started to refer to everything as a "memory palace".

I actually prefer "memory journeys" a little more than "memory palaces" and think that "memory palace" refers to a subtype of memory journey. It seems strange to refer to my memory journey through a town as a "palace".

Would a Roman room be synonymous to a memory palace, since they are both suggest an indoor environment?

I see "method of loci" as being the overall technique.

I'm curious what other people think about definitions.

8 January, 2016 - 13:42
r30's picture
Joined: 3 years 11 months ago

I actually prefer "memory journeys" a little more than "memory palaces" and think that "memory palace" refers to a subtype of memory journey. It seems strange to refer to my memory journey through a town as a "palace".

Exact opposite to me! I hadn't read a single thing about memory journeys or palaces when I started building my own. Thus I obviously had no discipline to make "paths" through the loci I created in my mind (I fantasised the palaces directly from the things I wanted to memorize). Later when reading Foer and discovering this site, I began creating strict journeys, which I discovered to be much more efficient when reviewing the items and later recalling. Thus I've been always visioning my constructs as "memory palaces" , through which I could lay my "journeys". So, "memory palace" was chaos, into which "journey" made order.
Read the Roman Room wiki page some long time ago, thought it was the same thing, just in a "roomed" /"tiny" environment.
Of course, if one starts creating distanced-loci journeys through town then it would be strange to refer to that path as your "palace", since the construct is very linear (can only grasp one locus at time, then teleport to the next one).

Mind palaces however, based on what the series has shown, is a combination of memory palace + using your Sherlockian brain power abilities (or hallucinogenic drugs) to visualize yourself into different situations, decide how these situations would evolve, and then after playing it through it is supposed to help you with your real life problem.

NOTE. How I actually stumbled on memorizing things by fantasising palaces was from misinterpreting a book about mind maps, it noted that mind maps could be "3D", and my mind made a connection with an interesting fact from Mentalist I'd "scrapbooked" years ago, namely Patrick Jane said he memorized card decks by visualizing them and putting in different locations. I'd thought the technique was extremely cool, and now already being into mind maps I cleverly smiled and decided to put the "3D mind maps" in use. Lol.

8 January, 2016 - 16:32
Joined: 4 years 7 months ago

I don't make any distinction at all. Well, apart from not using "mind palace" as a term for anything other than an idea in a TV program.

I see roman rooms as the most basic application of loci; memory palaces as much bigger and memory journeys as sometimes incorporating rooms/palaces but also going outside.

If I think about it, most of my "journeys" use all three. I start in one room in a house, go throughout the whole house, then go outside.

The earliest person I can find (in the modern age) advocating for the use of loci would be Bruno Furst. Has anyone come across any earlier references?

8 January, 2016 - 17:29
Joined: 2 years 6 months ago

To me, the most general would be a Memory Palace, all other three would be Memory Palaces but a special kind.

A Memory Palace to me is just what it is to everyone here I guess, a visualized mental location where information is stored in a way that makes it easy/easier to remember. It can be anything from a building (like the one most of us start with), pictures from a book, scenes from a movie, whatever you use to attach information to.

Roman Rooms to me are the simplest kinds of Memory Palaces, ones that resemble the room in Simonides' memory. It can be multiple rooms, but it doesn't have to be filled with predefined loci or a certain route. You can mentally walk around in it without having a certain direction. Like with Simonides, this includes rooms on places like birthdays, where you remember everyones place in the room. Also when making a memory journey, it starts with a roman room, in which you define loci and a route. Most of my Roman Rooms do have predifined loci, but no predifined journey.

As mentioned before, Memory Journeys have predifined loci which are walked though in a predifined order, a Journey. These Memory Palaces I use for things when an actual order is important, not much else to be told about that.

A Mind Palace is a Memory Palace, though not specifically for memories (but it can have some). These are the more vivid places, I can go to them and totally lose the outer world. I usually do so when I am stressed or emotional. I only have one of these, and when I am there, it has a lot of things that calm me down. I hear my favorite piano piece play, I see my favorite stuffed animal of all time (which I also still have IRL), my daughter is there to hug me, and basically I just relax there and let all stress flow away. It is almost as vivid as the real world, and when inside, I can't do anything on the outer world as my full attention is focussed inward.

When rewatching Sherlock, I found that my mind palace is actually very similar to his. I can go there, think, relax, etc. Though I don't need too much stimuli from the outside (Like his line, "Get out, I need to go to my mind palace").

8 January, 2016 - 17:40
Joined: 4 years 7 months ago

Maya, it's fascinating to me that your palaces may not have predefined loci.

8 January, 2016 - 18:27
Joined: 2 years 6 months ago

Well, as mentioned, it is mostly like what was going on in the story of Simonides. :) remembering something based on the spacial memory of the location where it happened. Up until today, I still remember where everyone was sitting on my last birthday about 8 months ago, I remember who came walking in and who left in the exact order. I remember who had to go sit somewhere else because someone else took their chair accidentally, although I never actively memorized it all. To me, that too is using a memory palace, though without predifined loci.

16 April, 2016 - 15:25
Joined: 1 year 7 months ago

Using a mind palace not to memorise but to literally have an inner place to just enjoy is a spectacular idea. I just read this in Mayarra's post and ill most definitely be creating mine. I might have a bit of trouble deciding which loci to use but having a Zen space is a really cool exercise.

Another Idea I liked a lot I got from Dominic Obrien's "Quantum Memory Power book". It was "a place for every face".
He used it to remember random peoples names, but I have made a memory palace for all my friends and now store all of their information there (likes, dislikes, birthdays, potential gifts and any other useful information).
Its pretty easy, since I just use their house as Loci, but i sometimes have to think harder if im memorising for two that live together.

18 April, 2016 - 10:06
Joined: 1 year 8 months ago

I use the terms memory palace and memory city. I have houses and theaters in my memory city. I never have single rooms with no objects in it, I find I need multiple objects in a room for me to even be able to add a link to it, so does that mean all my memory palaces use the Roman Room method? Only 3 of my memory palaces use the journey method. The other two are basically an open room where I can look around.

Regardless of application, the words I use are Memory Palace and Memory City.

19 April, 2016 - 08:05
Joined: 4 years 6 months ago

Graham is fascinated that Mayarra's memory palaces don't have predefined loci. My memory palaces do, but one of my two major memory journeys doesn't.

I define my palaces and journeys much like Josh. If the loci are in a building, I call them palaces. But if they are across the landscape, I call them journeys. I use journey as the overall terminology so my palaces are a special kind of journey, as that's what moving through any memory space feels like for me. I also use handheld devices modelled on indigenous mnemonic devices which really don't suit the terms 'palace' or 'journey'. I just call them memory spaces, which is my overall term for the lot.

On one of my landscape journeys, I have every country and independent protectorate in the world (242 of them), assigned to places in the house and garden and then heading off down the street, one country per house of shop. Those are pre-defined loci.

In the other, I walk through time. I start at home at 4,500 million years ago and walk around the block. I am back home at 1000 BC. I then walk around another block and end up home at 1900. I associate every one of the years from then on to a set of 116 pre-defined loci. So for 4,500 million years, I only have the journey divided up into time segments. I then add any new items wherever they fit in that time scale. I add events to locations chosen when I know what date I want to match. If I want to add the Great Fire of London, say, I find a tree, gate, rock, window ... at 1666 (approximately) to which I can hook the event (it's the edge of a pergola which I imagine being burnt to the ground). I have nearly 1000 events, including lots of people being born, in my 'journey through time'.

I hope that makes sense.


11 June, 2016 - 10:29
Joined: 2 years 10 months ago

Thank You Josh. There is some really good information posted here.

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