The human mind also has a great capability to remember bizarre events. (2) pg.86. Think about it for a second. We forget mundane or banal things like what we had for lunch last week. However, if the lunch was different, unique, bizarre or exceptional, chances are you would remember it. The image of Spider-Man swinging into the room wearing a LeBron James jersey while juggling eggs was hopefully bizarre enough to encode into your memory.
Lastly, what distinguished the best or great mnemonist, or individuals with the ability to remember and recall unusually long lists of data, such as unfamiliar names, lists of numbers, entries, etc., is how creative they can get with the images in their head as they encode them to their memories.
Get creative with the imagery, and try to visualize them in concrete detail, smell and touch!
In the book, Moon Walking with Einstein, it cites many studies done on memory or mental athletes. Many doctors and scientist have studied the brains of mental or memory athletes and what they discovered was quite astonishing…
Their brains did not deviate at all from the average controls brains of their experiment. Their brains were in no way structurally different or an anomaly… Actually, when the mental athletes were tested in general cognitive ability, the results showed that the mental athletes came back in the normal range (2) pg. 39.
The doctors did notice, however, that these mental athletes used a certain part of their brain more often. After researchers put these mental athletes into functional MRIs, they became aware of the mental athletes engaging in several regions of the brain in regards to two specific assignments: spatial navigation and visual memory.
The memory palace technique forces you to use those two regions of the brain. The hippocampus is responsible (3) for spatial memory and is also known to play a vital role in the memory system for specific events. The images you encode into your head will be able to recall faster.
In short, there is no difference between mental athletes and the average person. The brain is a muscle. If you continue to work it out, you can develop a keen memory.
The principles of the memory palace tactic employ one’s beautiful spatial memory to recall items that are not naturally ordered. When you walk the path from your driveway, through your house, you will be able to store information whose order comes less naturally. Just like how it is near impossible to forget the order of rooms in a house you intimately know, it will be near impossible to forget the order of the items.
One needs to understand that we remember different types of information differently. Humans have this profound ability to commit to our memories, visualizations and spatial memory. Use this technique to remember shopping lists, numbers, or just about any information!
(1) Quak, M., London, R. E., & Talsma, D. (2015, April 21). A multisensory perspective of working memory. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from US National Library of Medicine website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404829/
(2) Foer, J. (2011). Moonwalking with Einstein. Penguin Books.
(3) Shrager, Y., Bayley, P. J., Bontempi, B., Hopkins, R. O., & Squire, L. R. (2007, February 12). Spatial memory and the human hippocampus. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from US National Library of Medicine website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1815289/