Memory Tricks

memory tricksIn this Memory Tricks video you’ll learn some real life memory tricks from a former U.S. Memory Champ named Joshus Foer.  Foer was actually a science journalist who was curious to know if he could do what these memory champs could do after observing them in action one year.

What Foer said he was surprised about was that these memory champs all proclaimed to have no extraordinary abilities but rather that they all taught themselves and trained to have a better memory.   Foer went on to note that there is actual scientific evidence that this is the case and that these “memory athletes” were not just being modest.

Foer then learned their memory tricks, wrote a book about his experiences called Moonwalking with Einstein, the Art and Science of Remembering Everything and now shares some of those simple tricks with you.

Foer spent a year of his life dedicated to learning some of these essential memory tricks and that propelled him to the U.S. Memory Championship an event to see who can remember the most stuff.   This is actually great news for all those who want to get better at remembering names and faces and acing tests and the like.


Foer notes that there are a number of memory tricks or techniques that are now used by memory champs that were well known in ancient times but have seemingly been lost to the masses in more recent times.   One of the techniques that dates back 2500 years is called the Memory Palace.  I actually learned this technique years ago in another memory course and it makes a lot of sense.

Essentially the memory palace memory trick involves utilizing our brains great capacity for spatial memory.   You take something you’re passionate about and meld it with the facts or figures you want to remember making it easier to remember these things.   The actual memory palace is an imaginary building that you are infinitely familiar with and can then associate the items you want to remember with places in certain rooms of your memory palace that you already know.

Foer notes that what you put in your memory palace are persons performing actions with objects.  By doing this you are able to make an emotional connection with the facts or figures you are trying to remember.   Foer goes on to state that the more bizarre or crazy you make these images that you create the easier it will be to remember them.    According to Foer, Cicero used this memory trick to remember speeches.

One of the funniest parts of this video is when Foer relates the story of how a former Archbishop of Canterbury in the 15th century used to memorize his sermons by pegging parts of them with raunchy lewd images!

What do we remember?  We tend to remember things that are strange, unusual, or appealing to our imaginations.   So, want to remember something mundane just transform it into a strange or bizarre image.

Another memory trick that Foer mentions is the commonly known one of “chunking” in which you group together certain things to make them easier to remember.  He uses the example of a phone number in which you memorize parts of it in chunks say 45 instead of 4 and 5.


At the end of the video the interviewer discusses the common perception of time moving faster as we get older and asks Foer about it.  Foer notes that one of the reasons this happens is that as you get older you often get into a routine and do the same things day in and day out.  When this happens with relatively little new input then time seems to fly by.   The things we remember or that really stand out then are things like vacationing in different places, going to different places, doing different things, etc…   Essentially then the ultimate memory trick is the trick of slowing down time by creating more wonderful different memories.   So why not do something different starting today?

If you want to check out reviews of Foer’s book just click the Moonwalking with Einstein banner below.

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