How to Use the Method of Loci?

5 minute read
How to Use the Method of Loci

Do you know that the attention span of an average human is around 8 seconds? However, it can be improved by implementing various techniques such as the method of loci, linking, or by using the leitner system. The loci method is a popular technique used for memorisation. It is one of the oldest memory techniques. Find out more about this unique method of learning and how you can easily implement it in your life! 

What is the Loci Method?

The loci technique or memory technique is more than 2000 years old. The term loci mean places in Latin. A memory technique that is based on the concept of relating and linking locations with a list of key ideas. The location acts as a hint to remember ideas and concepts. 

The technique was developed by the ancient Greek and Roman orators to memorize long speeches. Orators were considered successful if they delivered their speeches entirely based on memory. The Greeks and Romans used this practice to mentally place key points in their speeches in locations and routes through their cities. For instance, if they tried to remember a key point, every item on a location represented that idea. As they move along on the journey in the precise location, the visualized objects remind them of the key points associated with it. Before starting their speech, they would mentally walk through the same place trying to recapitulate the ideas they wanted to discuss. This old technique has been implied in the modern world to master the technique of learning and memorizing in a short span of time.

Credit: Christopher Anadale

Also Read: How to Become a Mentalist?

How to Use Loci?

Anyone can use this technique to ease the process of memorisation of complex ideas and concepts in a speech or exam. The simple steps to be followed in this technique are mentioned below: 

  • Imagine a route that you are well aware of such as walking home from work or institute
  • Visualise every part of that route and memorise it well
  • Now mentally plays the key points at every single location you memorised earlier
  • Finally, when you try to remember the items, visualise those locations and go through them one by one in a sequence to recollect all the information.
  • Each time you walk through these locations in your mind, information is provided from the memory
Credit: Ron White Memory Expert – Memory Training & Brain Training

Also Read: How to Become a Lexicographer?

Benefits of Using Loci Method

  1. There’s a method of memorizing things called the loci method. It’s used to memorize lists of items, and it was championed by the likes of Cicero and even the ancient Greek orator, philosopher, and mathematician, Simonides.
  2. The basic idea is to associate the things you want to remember with a physical location that you already know.
  3. So if you wanted to remember a shopping list, you could start with your front door, then move on to the bathroom, the bedroom, the kitchen etc., before returning back to your front door.
  4.  Each time you walk through a doorway, you simply have to recall what was in that room before remembering the next thing on your shopping list.
  5. It’s easy and powerful.
  6. You can revive the information after a long period of time.

Examples of Method of Loci

This technique is extensively used to remember long speeches and key points made during an important discussion. Let us consider an example. Imagine yourself giving a speech on the struggles of independence.

  • Write down all the key points in your speech, for instance, important dates, famous people, struggles and battles
  • Students can start by visualising their houses, bedrooms and imagine a huge yellow calendar hanging on the wall below a wall clock. Associate important dates and history with that yellow calendar and associate the wall that has a picture of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Associate his picture with all the freedom fighters. Now, associate the trophies and medals in your room with the famous National Movements. The toy gun on your bed can represent the battles fought to win over the Britishers.
  • Once you have walked through this memory place, you might remember the entire list in a proper sequence. Once this memorisation and repetition is done, you can remember the entire format of the speech.
  • This technique allows students to create different visuals for the facts and associate them with different objects to make memorising easy and efficient.

Also Read: Class 11 Psychology Chapter 7 Human Memory

Tips for Method of Loci

  • You can keep on adding as per your convenience and make it more complex. But do not make it too complex to visualise while recalling again.
  • Another important thing to remember is you can use different sizes of journey as per your requirements. A longer memorisation content may require a longer journey such as from your home to your hometown in another state.
  • Try to keep the design of your visualisation minimalistic. A white background is preferable over multicoloured overloaded information.
  • Be open to changes and flexibility. You can consider both indoors and outdoor journeys for your memory palace.
  • Get the method right the first time to be able to use it again later. Strategise according to your memory plan. Do not over strategize and affect your thought processes.

How to Memorize the Items Using Loci Method?

Then, take a list of ten items that you want to memorize, and imagine each item in one locus, or location, of your memory palace. For example, you could try memorizing the following food list:

  1. Raddish
  2. Orange
  3. Carrots
  4. Chicken
  5. Corn
  6. Maggie
  7. Soup
  8. Pulses
  9. Hot spices

Create a great memory map story around the items and map your learnings.

Project on Loci Method

Credits – slideshare


What is the method of loci good for?

Very significant and effective method for improvement in the ability to recall information.

What is an example of the method of loci?

A mnemonic technique where items are transformed into mental images and linked to specific locations or positions. For example, to help you remember your shopping list, imagine each product at a different spot on a familiar street.

When was the method of loci first used?

Prehistory. Historical records of the technique only go back to Simonides in the 6th Century BCE.

Who used the method of loci?

It was first used as a memory tool by both Greek and Roman orators, who took advantage of the technique to give speeches without the aid of notes.

Are you ready to use the method of loci to learn speeches, debates, and presentations? Let us know in the comments below. For more learning tips and tricks, follow Leverage Edu on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and LinkedIn

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