The series not only repeatedly uses visualization for storing/retrieving memories (i.e. memory palace), but also for the subject to imagine oneself into different types of situations. For example in "The Abominable Bride" Sherlock goes into his mind palace to visualize how he would have solved a crime that happened over a century ago. In contrast, in "His Last Vow" he escapes into his mind palace to alleviate his pain from a gun shot. This is the part where the overdramatization of memory palaces occurs.
Mind palaces feature most prominently in Series 3, Episode 3: "His Last Vow".
How to Create a Mind Palace
Here is a quick tutorial on how to make a mind palace:
- Take a place that you know well, like your bedroom.
- Choose 10 points in your room, moving clockwise. For example, you could use your bed as location #1, your desk as #2, the closet door as #3, etc. Your actual locations will depend on the layout of your room.
- A quick and easy way to use a mind palace instantly is to memorize a shopping list. Imagine each item in your shopping list in one of the locations of your mind palace. So if the first three items on your list are carrots, rice, and apples, you could imagine the carrots in location #1 (e.g., your bed), the rice in location #2 (e.g., on your desk), and the apples in location #3 (e.g., the closet door). To make the images memorable, picture them as vividly as possible.
- As you place the images in your mind palace, you can exaggerate them to make them stand out more. For example, the carrots might be GIANT carrots that are sleeping in your bed. It's a ridiculous mental image, which is what makes it memorable! :)
- To recall the shopping list, close your eyes and mentally walk back through the locations of your mind palace in the same order as you created them.
- After practicing the review a few times, head to the store and you should be able to recall all of the images by walking through the palace in your mind.
For more-detailed instructions, see How to Build a Memory Palace.