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The Best Way To Memorize

OPB | March 31, 2014 12:30 p.m. | Updated: March 31, 2014 3:43 p.m.

Dierk Schaefer - Creative Commons

Kyle Morrison, a South Eugene High School student, has a hobby that’s quite a bit different from many of his friends. He likes to memorize. So much so, in fact, that this weekend he’s competing in the USA Memory Championship in New York City.  According to The Register-Guard:

The key to memorizing is to associate numbers, words or faces with images, Kyle said. He remembered the 12-digit number by imagining an image that represents every number from 00 to 99.

For example, Kyle associates the number 9 with lipstick. The number 39 represents his friend Mack, and the number 12 represents the action of sipping something.

So, the number 39129 would translate to “Mack sipping lipstick,” which sticks in his mind more than just numbers, he said.

This piqued our curiosity, so we reached out to memory expert, Matt Lattal. He’s an associate professor in the Behavioral Neuroscience Department at OHSU. Lattal says Kyle’s system of memorization is often effective and has lots of other tips and tricks on how to improve your memory.  For example:

  • When you’re introduced to someone at a party, shake their hand and repeat their name
  • Don’t cram for an exam; learning over time is far better than doing a lot at the last minute

How do you memorize things? What are your tricks?

GUEST:

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