The Memory Palace (or the method of loci) was discovered in 477 B.C. by Simonides of Ceos. Researchers have actually proven that this technique reshapes neural networks to support superior memory. You can 10X-100X you memory. They’ve even discovered that these changes are long-lasting and that with practice, anyone can use these techniques to transform their brain into that of a memory champion.
The Memory Palace is a procedure that involves putting your mind in a focused location (the Memory Palace). You must hold that particular place for a prescribed amount of time (a locus). The procedure consists of the following: a. setting the mental scene in a particular locus and then vacating it b. keeping the locus in memory c. bringing it back to the point where you left it
The method requires two things: 1. The focus of the process; and 2. The length of time (latuses). To set the process requires setting the scene in a particular locus. Next you must keep the scene in memory. You must be able to recall it. Finally, you must bring it back to the beginning of the process where you set the process. (This last step is the trickiest part).
A few years ago, we had a client that we thought was having some kind of reaction to the food she was eating. It turned out that she was having problems with her auditory cortex. When she would open her eyes or turn her head, she was having problems hearing, she had a hard time distinguishing between various sounds. The reason that we discovered this was that she had spent many hours practicing the Memory Palace. As she practiced, she was “licking her ear” to the music that she was hearing. It turns out that her auditory cortex was having problems with the sounds that she was hearing. It was her visual cortex that was doing the trick. The Visual Memory Palace is very complex. We usually don’t discover it until after the procedure is done. You can actually learn it while the process is going on.
The Memory Palace was developed by one of the first people to attempt a procedure in the field of psychological therapy called ‘The Method of the Mind’. Simonides of Ceos was very interested in the role of the mental processes in health and in disease. His method involved mental images. We’re not sure of the number of mental images that he studied, but he must have made thousands of images. Each mental image was a process. They might be visual, auditory, olfactory, or gustatory, or it could be all of those. It was a systematic approach that he used to solve his problems. In fact, there are some theories that his method was the first one in the history of psychology to show evidence of neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is the term that we use for the creation of new brain cells. It’s a form of psychological therapy.
There are techniques that the Visual Memory Palace can be trained to associate with specific sounds. This is a fairly advanced skill. Most of the techniques are used to help with specific memory functions. A few of them can be used with visual memory. There are some people that can actually make them associate with words or even images, but most people need more training. The Visual Memory Palace is like that.
One of the problems we had was that she needed to learn how to associate her visual and auditory memories. We worked with her to make them associate different words with the colors or different sounds with the tones. This is all very complex. As she learned the associations, it was noticed that there were some similarities between the sounds and the colors.
It wasn’t too long after the Memory Palace was introduced that we saw the beginnings of the beginnings of the memory change. We used to think that memories were hard, and she had only mixed them. As she became better at remembering them, we found that they were easier. There was a general similarity between the memories. There was more repetition of events. It was a gradual process, not a sudden event. You still see a lot of change, but it’s not as extreme as a few years ago. There’s still a long way to go, but she has definitely come a long way.