Decorating a Barren Memory Palace

The Huffington Post:

In my mind’s eye, I now have an image of overweight nudists on bicycles. It’s not an image I want in my head, but it’s vivid and — my guess is — enduring. I have science journalist Joshua Foer to thank for this. I have just watched his charming and hugely popular TEDTalk on memory, and he uses this image to illustrate an ancient mnemonic device called the “memory palace” — a technique he has actually used to memorize the TEDTalk itself.

And that’s exactly what they found. As reported in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, all the volunteers practiced at home for a week, and when they returned to the lab they had all succeeded in improving access to joyful past experiences. This was true whether they were depressed at the time or in remission. However — and this is the key finding — on a surprise follow-up recall test a week later, only those who had learned the Method of Loci technique maintained these recollections. Presumably, these people could draw on this rich repository of good memories in the future, and at will, to help regulate their moods. The controls, by contrast, showed a significant falloff in recall for these happy past experiences.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology.

Leave a comment below and continue the conversation.

Comments

Leave a comment.

Comments go live after a short delay. Thank you for contributing.

(required)

(required)