Introduction to Memory Systems
If you think back to when you were little, you might recall remembering things because they reminded you of something else. This could be a feeling, an image, a color etc…
The way to memorize abstract thoughts like numbers or random objects is by linking them with something that we already know. For example if we were going to memorize a group of random objects we would link them to a group of words or pictures that we already know.
For example, if you were to try and memorize the following grocery list it would probably take a you a few minutes.
- Dog Food
- Orange Juice
Using what is called a Peg System we can have this list memorized literally in the time it takes you write the items down. The way it works is that you have a list of known words that you link to these unknown words.
For the sake of this example we will use a simple rhyming peg system. Try memorizing the following list, which is easy to remember because everything rhymes, these would be what we call pegs. These will serve as our known words that we will link the unknown words to. When you go over this list try and visualize an image of each item.
- Mine (land Mine)
Now that you have your list of words that you already know you can tie them to words you want to remember by using creative imagery. Really try and visualize the following sentences as you read them, make a mental picture then move onto the next line.
Using the above list we could imagine…
- Eggs on a bun
- Milk being poured into a shoe
- Cans of beans growing on a tree
- A door made out of bread
- A bowl of soup being poured over a bee hive
- Baby Chicks being washed with soap
- A bowl of rice with wings going up to heaven
- A gate that is made out of dog food
- A carton of orange juice falling on a land mine and then exploding
- A hen in the shower washing its hair
The more ridiculous the link and the more vivid the image you make in your mind the better you are going to remember it.
So, if you were going to try and recall the items on this list all you would have to do is think …”OK, my word for the first item is bun”, which would then trigger your mind to recall an egg being put on that bun… “The second peg word is shoe”, which would then trigger you to remember milk being poured into a shoe, etc…
Try this out yourself now if you haven’t already. Make a list of 10 items and link them to the rhyming peg system above. With about 5 minutes of practice you will be able to master this. You will be able to impress your friends with the ability to memorize 10 objects inside and out in under a minute and keep them in your memory for days…
The Major System
You might have just realize that a rhyming system only can go so far. What if instead of being able to memorize 10 random things you could remember 20, 50, 100, or even 1,000 random things? That is where the Major System comes in.
The Major System takes numbers and turns them into sounds. Those sounds can then be made into words which can be used to make peg systems, fill a memory palace, or make story.
Why does this work? Our minds are not good at remembering things in an abstract fashion, numbers for the most of us don’t mean anything or bring anything to mind, just as a random list of objects wont stick in our mind because they aren’t linked to anything. Our brains are really good at remembering stories or things that remind us of something else. For example, we look at our credit card number hundreds of times and never remember it, yet we can recall a story or a joke someone told us one time from years ago pretty easily.
Ok now that you get why… here is the how:
The below numbers make the following sounds:
- t or d sounds (Tool, dune)
- n sounds (nomad, nancy)
- m sounds (moon, monster)
- r sounds (road, roof)
- l sounds (land, leash)
- sh, j, and soft g sounds (shoe, joy, age)
- k, x, and hard c sounds (kite, sax, cat)
- f or v sounds (file, violin)
- p or b sounds (pat, bar)
And 0 makes a z or an s sound as in Zoo or Sell
Everything else is unassigned. We use unassigned sounds as fillers to make up words. You’ll see examples below.
How do you remember this ridiculous system?
When looking at the the letters t and d they have 1 (our number) down stroke. Down stroke meaning that that if you were to write the letter t your pen would go from the top of the letter to the bottom one time.
The letter n has 2 down strokes, so we can remember 2 is n
The letter m has 3 downstrokes
The word four trails off with the R sound, which is how we remember 4 is r
The letter L is the roman numeral for 50, which is how we remember 5 is L
The letter g looks like a 6 upside down
K looks like two 7 on their sides
A lower case f when written in script looks like an 8
9 looks like a backwards p or a flipped around b
Both S and Z have 0 vertical downstrokes strokes so you can remember 0
*** It is important to note we are going by the sound and not how the word is spelled. So… the word knife would be 28 not 78***
So… if we wanted to remember the number 10 we would make the word Top.
- T is 1
- o is a vowel so it means nothing
- P is the number 9
If we wanted to remember 92 we could think of the word Pen
- P is 9
- e is nothing
- N is 2
If we wanted to remember a long 10 digit number such as:
We could make words like:
Rich(46) name(23) car(74) knife(28) tomb(13) kick(77)
With these words we could easily visualize:
A Rich man puts on a name tag and got into his car when he was stabbed with a knife. He gets buried in a tomb which people come by and kick.
And that is how The Major System works! You now have the knowledge of how memory athletes can memorize large amounts of data almost as fast as they look at it. The next step for you is building your own list of key words for your peg system and memorizing it. Luckily I have built an awesome tool that turns the process of learning pegs 00 – 99 into a fun and addicting game that you can download on both Android and coming soon to iOS.
Here is an example list of words from 00 to 99.
If you are wondering the easiest way to memorize this list then check out our app! The Ultimate Major System Trainer
|00. Sauce||45. Rail|
|01. Seed||46. Roach|
|02. Sign||47. Rock|
|03. Sumo||48. Roof|
|04. Sire||49. Wrap|
|05. Sail||50. Lice|
|06. Sushi||51. Lady|
|07. Sock||52. Lion|
|08. Safe||53. Lime|
|09. Soup||54. Liar|
|0. Ice||55. Lily|
|1. Tie||56. Leash|
|2. Knee||57. Luck|
|3. Ham||58. Loaf|
|4. Oar||59. Lip|
|5. Hill||60. Chess|
|6. Shoe||61. Sheet|
|7. Key||62. Chin|
|8. Hive||63. Chime|
|9. Pie||64. Chair|
|10. Toes||65. Shell|
|11. Tutu||66. Shish|
|12. Dawn||67. Shake|
|13. Dime||68. Chef|
|14. Door||69. Chip|
|15. Doll||70. Kazoo|
|16. Dish||71. Cat|
|17. Duck||72. Can|
|18. Dove||73. Comb|
|19. Tub||74. Car|
|20. Nose||75. Coal|
|21. Nut||76. Cash|
|22. Nun||77. Cake|
|23. Gnome||78. Cuff|
|24. Honor||79. Cap|
|25. Nail||80. Fuse|
|26. Nacho||81. Foot|
|27. Neck||82. Fan|
|28. Knife||83. Foam|
|29. Nap||84. Fire|
|30. Moose||85. File|
|31. Mat||86. Fish|
|32. Moon||87. Fig|
|33. Mime||88. Fifa|
|34. Hammer||89. Fob|
|35. Mail||90. Pizza|
|36. Match||91. Bat|
|37. Mic||92. Pan|
|38. Movie||93. Palm|
|39. Mop||94. Pear|
|40. Rice||95. Pool|
|41. Rat||96. Peach|
|42. Iron||97. Pick|
|43. Rim||98. Buff|
|44. Roar||99. Pipe|