Mnemonics for developing memory in adults: 7 effective exercises for a powerful mind

Hello, hello, dear blog visitors! Lyudmila Redkina is with you. Have you ever considered phenomenal memory to be quackery? Not long ago I watched the program “Coolest of All,” where little children memorized the number Pi, guessed cells with different numbers, and solved a huge number of examples in a split second! It's hard to believe, but it's still possible! Oh, an interesting topic awaits us today - let’s talk about what mnemonics are for developing the memory of adults, I’ll tell you about 7 exercises that will help you remember a lot of information in a limited time.

What is mnemonics?

This word refers to a set of techniques and techniques designed to improve the memorization of complex information. These techniques have been around for quite a long time. Thus, scientists date the first surviving works on mnemonics to 86-82 BC. Mnemonic devices were in great demand among speakers, since they had to deliver long speeches, and the use of aids was considered shameful.

Even now, a speaker should not read from a piece of paper if he wants to make a proper impression on the people. And mnemonics in this case helps not to forget to say anything.

Modern mnemonics (it has nothing to do with pneumatic engineering; sometimes people confuse these terms) has gone much further and is based on scientific developments. It itself is built on the associative principle. A person remembers information that is related to another much better. This is why cramming is so ineffective. The brain remembers connections first.

The second postulate on which mnemonics is based is that the brain remembers visual and spatial information most efficiently, since this determines the best survival.

Dominic O'Brien "How to develop super memory"

A very interesting book is the work of a famous memory champion, who diversified important facts and recommendations on mnemonics with his life stories and funny situations. The book is read in one gulp and seriously motivates the diligent study of the principles of memorization, which can also be found in a scientific treatise. The great advantage of the book is the artistic style of the narration, which seems to immerse you in the events of the story and evoke an emotional response. And emotions, as everyone knows, are the best engine of improvement.

Who needs mnemonics?

Whatever field you want to develop in, learning is very important. Now, more than ever before, the saying “who owns the information owns the world” is relevant. Those who do not scale their competence very quickly find themselves out of work. Especially considering that the world is constantly evolving.

Along with this progress, the amount of information that we need to process increases significantly. And for this reason, everyone, without exception, will need mnemonics. But there are categories of people for whom this skill will be especially necessary:

  1. Schoolchildren and students. Both need to process a huge amount of information given in compressed form every day. In addition, many of them write cheat sheets. Mnemonics helps you learn them and write off the ticket from your head. You will agree that this is much safer than using paper. And in this way the student does not violate anything. He really knows what he writes about in the exam.
  2. Teachers. Mnemonics were originally created for the purposes of oratory. Teachers need to do a lot of public speaking, and it is also not advisable for them to use supporting materials in order to maintain contact with students. Moreover, memorizing the outline of a lecture is the simplest thing mnemonics can do. Also, if you keep the outline of the lecture in your head, you will almost never have to prepare for it again.
  3. Businessmen. They often have to communicate with people whose information, whether you want it or not, they need to remember so as not to lose a valuable partner. Mnemonics will help prevent this disaster.
  4. Those who want to learn a foreign language. Using mnemonics, you can remember all the exact information: exceptions, rules, words, phrasal verbs, forms of irregular verbs, and so on.

Thus, mnemonics are useful in absolutely any area of ​​life. It will be useful from communicating with people and remembering a shopping list to studying complex disciplines and foreign languages.

Why is it important to train your memory?

Memory training allows you to increase brain activity, which affects a person’s physical and mental health.

High-quality assimilation of information will help:

  • learn a foreign language;
  • get a good and well-paid job;
  • learn to analyze and assess the situation, make plans.

When memory decreases, blood supply to the brain decreases, and as a result, intellectual abilities decrease. In order for glucose to enter the brain cells, it is necessary to engage in intellectual and creative activity. Such energy exchange improves blood circulation processes, which has a beneficial effect on brain function.

With a decrease in intellectual load, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increases. To prevent this from happening, you should train your memory. Active assimilation of new information increases glucose consumption, which ultimately burns calories without turning into fat.

Associative principle of thinking

Our thinking is based on the associative principle. That is, one thought drags another, and so on. All of them form a chain of connections that our brain knows how to remember.

There are two types of memorization: involuntary, when connections are captured by the brain automatically, and voluntary, when a person makes an effort. Most often, the need to carry out some actions to remember appears when a person cannot provide information. He does not create visual associations, even subtle and unclear ones.

In such a difficult situation, a person has two options - cramming (that is, repeating information many times) or inventing his own visual associations. The second option is mnemonics.

Teaching mnemonics involves bringing to automation those actions that lead to memorization.


Working with associations helps in developing imaginative thinking, which is quite difficult for most people. This technique makes it possible to remember a variety of things by connecting them with each other. An important principle of mnemonics is to compare well-known things with those that need to be stored in memory.

If a person learns to quickly and correctly form associative connections, he will be able to qualitatively assimilate new information, developing the functioning of the brain.

A great way to keep your memory sharp is to work with opposite or completely different words. Training should take about half an hour, followed by a break of the same time. When resting, you should not watch TV or listen to music, as the brain needs proper rest.

Visual images are the basis of memorization

All a mnemonist needs to do to store the necessary information is to encode it into visual images, so to speak, translate it into the language of the brain. Images must meet the following requirements so that they are well remembered:

  1. Volume. That is, you must be able to scroll through the image in your head and examine it from different angles with your mind's eye.
  2. Size. The image should be large.
  3. Detail. If you are imagining flowers, then ideally you should consider every petal, right down to its texture.
  4. Color. Images must be in color.

The reference point is that the image can be held in your hand. Not difficult, right? Let's move on.

Connecting images

We remember that the brain can only remember connections. Therefore, you need to understand how to connect images with each other. In general, this is a complex science, but we will briefly tell you how to do it. There are three ways to connect images with each other:

  1. Connecting directly one image to another.
  2. Creation of an association.
  3. Connecting one association to another.

Regardless of which method is used, the images must be “glued” together. Well, the details may vary. For example, you can glue one image to another directly, or you can glue it to a part of it. For example, we need to remember that we need to buy bread and juice. In this case, there are several options:

  1. Combine the bread and juice parallel to each other. In this case, the images will be the same size.
  2. Attach the bread to the juice cap. In this case, the bread should be smaller. We remember that the images must be large. How to get out of such a situation? The solution to the dilemma is simple. We imagine a large juice lid and attach bread of the same size to it.

The last option is useful if you need to associate several others with one image. Then you can attach bread to the lid, sugar to the top of the package, and so on. This method of connecting images can be used when studying foreign languages, where one word can have several meanings at once.

Techniques for memorizing sequences

Mnemonics is not limited to memorizing a sequence, but it is much easier to consolidate information in memory if it was memorized using the techniques described in this section. In this case, during a walk, you can simply take and quickly repeat everything that you have learned, without forgetting to mention anything.

Unfortunately, mnemonics are not able to overcome the limitations of our brain. Over time, any information is forgotten, no matter how firmly it sits in the brain. Therefore it needs to be repeated. Let's list some techniques.

Stages of mastering the technique

Development is carried out in four stages:


encoding – abstract data is collected;

2. combining images - a connection is established between unrelated initial components;

3. memorizing a sequence - repetition in any convenient form, decoding abstract data;

4. direction to “long-term” memory and reproduction if necessary.

This sequence helps to process any amount of input data

With the help of mnemonics, you can remember a vast amount of information and develop “super memory”. Training can begin at any age, the result depends only on the amount of time spent on mastering the technique and the efforts made.

Cicero's method

This is a mnemonic classic that many people have heard about. The essence of the method is simple - you need to imagine a route where the necessary information is placed on reference images. For example, on the road there is a bus stop, a flower stand, a pedestrian crossing, an underground passage. Each of the created images must be attached sequentially to each of these objects.

For example, in words, the route according to Cicero’s method, with the help of which a shopping list was memorized, can be described as follows: on the roof of a bus stop there is a huge loaf of bread, near a flower stall there is a giant bottle of water, at the pedestrian crossing there is a can of canned food instead of a person. And so on.

It is highly recommended for the Cicero method to use the route you walk every day. Then, when passing by these objects, you will automatically remember the necessary information, and it will not be so difficult to repeat it.

Reception "Chain"

It is well suited if you need to remember a number of equivalent images that do not depend on each other and are in no way connected with each other. Dry sequence of actions, for example. The “Chain” method is good for remembering, for example, a plan for a speech.

The disadvantage of this technique is the effect of erasing connections. After a while, you will only remember the first and last objects in the sequence. Unless, of course, you repeat it regularly.

The technique is very easy to master. You need to connect the images in pairs with each other like a chain (hence the name). For convenience, we denote them by numbers. According to this technique, image 1 is connected to image 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4. And each time it is necessary that only two images appear in the imagination.

That is, first we connect a hammer with a nail, then we imagine in our heads a nail-chicken pair, then a chicken-pate pair, and so on.

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Reception "Matryoshka"

Here the images are “nested” into each other, as in a famous toy. The second method of connecting images is used here. We remember the juice and bread that is attached to the lid of the drink package.

The advantages of this technique are the following:

  1. Each of the images is free; others can be attached to them, which allows you to group information according to meaning. This technique allows you to remember, for example, a detailed plan.
  2. Information is remembered in a structured manner, and images are formed more qualitatively. Why? Because we attach a new image to a detail of the old one. And we remember that images must be detailed.

Each image, on the details of which others are written, represents an information block.

A Word on the Importance of Repetition

Any information is erased over time if it is not used in life. Especially if it has only recently been studied. Mnemonics are an excellent set of techniques that make memorization easier. But there is another memory process that goes in parallel with memorization - forgetting. This is the norm. The brain forgets unnecessary information so that we can be more flexible and quickly change behavior patterns and our worldview.

Given this memory process, learned information needs to be repeated from time to time to reinforce it and also to prevent further forgetting.

Newly learned information loses 40% in its volume or quality during the first hour if it is perceived only once.

A very important point - you need to repeat it actively. This means that repeated perception of information is very ineffective for remembering. Repetition in mnemonics for effective memorization is carried out by recalling the necessary material. After you have learned, say, an exam ticket, you need to repeat it for another three days.

Instructions for correct repetition in mnemonics:

  1. After memorizing any information using mnemonic techniques, you need to perform a control recall: compare the studied material with the original source. This should always be done, since errors may have been made when encoding information, especially if you are new to mnemonics. Test recall ensures that the information was learned correctly. Without it, you cannot be sure that you know the material correctly. Similar analogies exist in other areas. For example, if a person doesn’t remember the melody well, he won’t even be able to say that he’s singing incorrectly. There are simply no corresponding connections in the brain.
  2. If mistakes were made, you need to re-memorize the information that was memorized incorrectly.
  3. And repeat this a large number of times. The bigger, the better. But even if you do 5 repetitions a day, after a month it will be 150 repetitions. The information will be secured very firmly.

We see that there is nothing complicated. Active repetition in mnemonics resembles the usual repetition of information that we know, but the main thing is the reproduction of data, and not their perception.

“Memory does not change. Tasks and puzzles for the development of intelligence and memory”, Angels Navarro

Psychologist Angels Navarro has collected exercises that improve concentration and attentiveness, and teach you to think more creatively. In addition, all exercises are divided into levels so that you can gradually move from simple puzzles to the most difficult ones. Presentation in a playful manner prevents boredom and engages the imagination.

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Types of repetition in mnemonics

Depending on the tasks, you can repeat it in different ways:

  1. Viewing reference images. This method of repetition will be useful if you need to prevent forgetting already learned information or if you need to quickly repeat a large amount of data. It is used if you need to save information that is not used for more than 1.5 months. You are simply viewing images in your mind. At the same time, it is necessary to suppress internal pronunciation, because it is of little use and takes up a lot of time.
  2. Repetition with full transcript. This method is used to consolidate newly learned information in memory. It must be carried out within the first 3-4 days after studying the material. You need to not only view the images in your imagination, but also say what they mean. In fact, you are reading a virtual book that is entirely in your memory.
  3. Speaking and drawing. These methods involve motor memory. Here you don’t need to imagine the image in your head, but rather draw it with your eyes. This method of repetition is useful if you need to bring some information to a reflexive level of recall. Pronunciation is a similar method, only here you need to actively articulate. Information that is connected to several analyzing systems at once is remembered much better.

Games for memory development

Mnemonics for memory development in adults include not only exercises, but also games:

  • buffet – drinks and food are displayed on the screen, new elements appear with each step. The task is to find objects that have not yet appeared;
  • numerical coverage - the essence of the game is to remember the numbers shown. A certain number appears on the screen, you must enter the specified characters correctly;
  • complex high-speed movement - the task is to remember the current object and compare it with the next one. There are 2 buttons at the bottom - yes and no. The game gradually increases in speed and requires quick comparison of figures;
  • puzzles – puzzles – board game. For adults, it is advisable to choose large sets with more than 1000 elements;
  • snowball is an idea that is well suited for a large company. People stand in a circle and begin to say their names. First, 1 person, then 2 people name the previous name and their own, and the next one indicates the previously indicated names, and so on. Then names, hobbies, cities are added.

Most games are easy to find on the Internet and practice online.

The concept of a reference image in mnemonics

A reference image is an auxiliary image that is necessary for recall, but which does not have its own specific meaning. Through it, the search for the necessary data in the brain is carried out. The book by V. Kozarenko (he heads the most famous school of mnemonics in the CIS) gives an analogy with piano strings. There are a large number of them, and you can find the one you need using a suitably tuned tuning fork.

For example, we need to find “A” of the first octave among all the strings on the piano. We take a tuning fork and bring it to the strings. The one we need will begin to sound and vibrate. The reason for this is resonance.

It is also worth considering that there is no specific place in which certain information is located. The brain works reflexively. Therefore, the necessary information can only be obtained by presenting the appropriate stimulus, the role of which is played by reference images.

This may not necessarily be a visual image. Auditory and kinesthetic can also work. But the speed will no longer be the same. Therefore, in mnemonics, visual images are used as reference images.

Formation of mental images

Visualization is the most important aspect of memorization and memory in general[]. The brain is constantly making predictions. To do this, he builds images, visualizes the surrounding space (this is where the phenomenon of prophetic dreams comes from). This process does not require tension, there is no need to look at certain objects or specifically meditate - you just do it.

You want a new car and imagine yourself in it. Or you want to eat chocolate cake, you will instantly imagine the sweet taste. Moreover, for the brain it doesn’t make much difference whether you really see a certain object or just imagine it - thoughts about food create an appetite, and a scary old man jumping from a cabinet in a computer game - the desire to hit and run away.

However, you are clearly aware of the difference between a real image and an imaginary one - these two processes occur in parallel in the brain (which is why you do not break the monitor while playing). To train your memory, you need to think consciously in a similar way.

Just think about what it looks like what you're trying to remember. If you can think of a cat, you can equally think of a HUGE, 3D, WHITE and detailed cat with a red ribbon around its neck. You don't need to specifically imagine a story about a white cat chasing a ball of thread. One large visual object is enough - this mental image forms a new connection in the brain. You can use this method when reading - one visual image per short chapter of the book. In the future, remembering what you read will become much easier. Perhaps you will remember this article precisely because of the BIG WHITE CAT.

But how can you remember many things in a row in this case? Matthias Ribbing, a multiple Swedish memory champion and one of only 200 people worldwide to claim the title of “Grandmaster of Memory,” suggests the following method. Let's say you need to keep ten tasks in your memory at the same time. Think about ten things that you should remember, visualize them vividly and clearly: finish a piece of code, pick up your child from kindergarten, go grocery shopping, etc. For each task, take the first image that comes to mind (a monitor with a code, a child, a bag of groceries, etc.).

Imagine a bicycle. Mentally enlarge it and imagine that it is as big as an SUV. Then place each visual task image (item) in a separate part of the bike, connecting them so that “front wheel” becomes synonymous with “bag of groceries,” “frame” becomes synonymous with “monitor with code” (life is at work!) and etc.

The brain will build a new stable connection based on the image of a fantastic bicycle, and it will be much easier to remember all ten (or more) things.

Creating reference image systems

By combining the methods of memorizing a sequence described above, you can create a system of reference images. If you use it, it must be created in advance. And first it needs to be carefully secured as described above. In principle, they themselves will become well established in memory if you use them. According to the knowledge acquisition pyramid, 90% of information is remembered through actions. That is, if we do something with the acquired knowledge, it is least forgotten.

In general, all mnemonics, and systems of support images in particular, are needed in order to use information, albeit in symbolic form. It is due to this that almost one hundred percent efficiency is ensured.

Let's consider several ways to form reference image systems:

  1. The simplest system of reference images is objects that are identified by Cicero’s method. Remember, we gave as an example a stop, a flower stall, two crossings? You may have your own images that come across on the road. It is recommended to create 100 images if you have to actively remember information. But for starters, 10-15 is enough.
  2. Cicero's method + highlighting parts of the image. The second concept is unfamiliar to you, but we already looked at it today. Highlighting parts of the image is the example with the juice cap that we gave. Here the sequence of actions is simple. First, we select the required number of images using Cicero’s method, and then in each of them we find five more details, which can also be used as reference ones. For example, imagine an open refrigerator. In this case, the parts will be the following - door, top, middle, bottom shelves, freezer. If you have identified 100 objects using Cicero’s method, then in this way you can create a system of 500 reference images.
  3. Everything described above, plus a short chain of 5 arbitrary images connected to each of the “Chain” support methods. In this case, you get 12,500 reference images that can be used to remember information. Essentially, you have an internal file system in your head.

We advise you to approach the creation of a system of reference images creatively. For example, the entire system can be divided into three blocks. The first is used to demonstrate memory tricks, the second is used to remember precise information that can be useful in everyday life (telephone numbers, for example), and the third is used to memorize educational material.

Once information has been recorded on the reference image, new information cannot be written.

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Mnemonics for children

Mnemonics are almost never used to develop the memory of younger schoolchildren. The fact is that this skill involves a huge amount of intellectual effort, which, due to their age, is not suitable for such young children. Mnemonics may seem very difficult and boring to them.

This applies even more to mnemonics for the development of memory in preschoolers. At an early age, there is not the perseverance that is required for quality training of this skill.

You can start practicing mnemonics for memory development as teenagers, or when a person becomes an adult. By the way, already in grades 8-9 it can become an effective teaching tool for students, which will help them study foreign words, long texts even in Russian (to retell them), to replenish their vocabulary. It will be useful in absolutely all disciplines, even mathematics, although with certain limitations.

As for memorizing poems, mnemonics will only help you learn the sequence of events or elements of this verse, but it can be learned word for word only by cramming and according to the rules of repetition described above.

There are, of course, adapted types of mnemonics with simplified tasks for children of preschool and primary school age, but they are much inferior to full-fledged memorization technology.

In theory, mnemonics will help you learn the multiplication tables well, but the psychology of a child of this age requires a measured approach. Over long periods of time, cramming is no less effective method of memorization, but at the same time it is much easier for young students to learn than mnemonics. In general, in any case, the information needs to be repeated. Therefore, it is possible to qualitatively consolidate information in memory only over long periods.

Mnemonics are useful mostly in several cases:

  1. If you need to know a large amount of information today.
  2. If the material contains a large amount of accurate information.

Online course “Mnemonics”

The online course “Mnemonics” is 15 lessons from Vikium, after which you will be able to:

  1. Master mnemonics and use them in everyday life.
  2. Remember as much necessary information as you like.
  3. Learn foreign languages ​​faster and easier.
  4. Learn more effectively in all areas of life.
  5. Memorize phone numbers by ear.
  6. Learn poems instantly.
  7. Amaze your friends with your abilities.

The course includes:

  1. 7 online trainers for mnemonics.
  2. A set of key memorization techniques.
  3. Introductory and final tests.
  4. Memory development program.

The training costs 920 rubles.

If you don't like the course, you will get your money back within 7 days.

There is a review article on Wikium on our blog, read:

  • Brain simulators and courses Vikium - the most detailed and honest review of the online learning platform + reviews

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