Method of Loci - A Life Saving Method?

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Being students of the University of Minnesota, I'm sure each of us has our own preferred mnemonic, or strategy we use in order to enhance our memory, for studying. I know I am a constant user of the pegword method, which puts a lot of emphasis on rhyming, however I was intrigued when Professor Fletcher introduced the method of loci because I have never heard of it or tried it before.

The method of loci is a mnemonic that emphasizes the use of locations [1]. When used properly, one should picture a well-known area and designate a specific term or phrase that needs to be memorized to each area. The reason why this method works so well is because integrates visual information with someone's personal history [2]. Using the example below, a person could memorize a phone number by picturing different areas they pass on their way home from work [3]. The phone number begins and ends with the number nine; they could picture the baseball field and think the number three since a baseball field has three bases, and they could remember the farm represents the number five if they picture five cows on the farm. However, in order to make the strategy most efficient it is necessary to remember each area or number in a specific sequence. It defeats the purpose of remembering a phone number if you remember each number for each location but you can't remember what order they go in.

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Although I have never used this mnemonic, I have already thought of several cases where it could be very useful. For the past year I have worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor so I have had to take many CPR and first aid classes. I have realized that the method of loci would be perfect for memorizing steps for proper CPR care. The steps involving CPR which include call 911, check for signs of life, two response breaths, and 30 chest compressions could easily be assigned to a well-known path. I also feel that this technique would be especially effective since its common to panic during dangerous situations, or when CPR is necessary, and forget what you're supposed to do. I strongly believe this technique would make it easier to focus on you're steps and keep you alert while at the same time it makes the situation less stressful. I plan on using this technique much more as I continue my studies.

[1] Lilienfeld Text
[2] http://www.ba.infn.it/~zito/loci.html
[3] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/580273_3

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This page contains a single entry by guinn005 published on October 23, 2011 9:18 PM.

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