Question about the Journey Method

by Farnham

I'd like to ask you a question on Journey method memorization technique. How long a journey can we make to memorize huge computer books like Microsoft Office 2003? Can you suggest me an example of a long journey?

My second question is that can we use a movie to contruct our new journey. We can see the movie over and over again to memorize the locations and then use these locations as mental pegs. Can you suggest me any movie like this.

My third question: Is there any book on physical journey to the world which shows step by step different places to construct our new journey pegs.

I will sincerely appreciate your kind help in providing me answers to above mentioned questions.

Doug's Reply: You don't need a dictionary or software. All you need is a little creativity.

Remember - it's the *sound* of the word that's important, not the meaning.

Also, the picture does not need to match the sound of the word exactly. Just get close, and your brain will make the connection.

The more you practice the technique, the faster you will get at thinking up the pictures. I can think of a picture for any word in just a few seconds (because I have practiced).

1) Let's take the word "analysis" for example.

Break it down into syllables.

an - aly - sis

To me, that sounds like: An Alley Sis

1. An "alley" is a narrow street between two buildings.
2. A "sis" is a short-hand name for sister.

So, my word picture for "analysis" would be my sister in an alley. To make it memorable, I would imagine her doing something unusual, maybe digging through trash cans or something.

The fact that I do not have a sister in real life doesn't matter. I can just imagine a stereotypical "sister" or maybe imagine a girl with my face.

2) Secure

see - cure or sea - cure or see - cuer or sea - cooler etc.

For this one I might use sea-cuer. To me, "sea" is the ocean. And "cuer" might be someone lining up the cue ball for a game of billiards ("cuer" = a person who cues).

3) Recommend

wreck - a - mend or wreck - amen etc.

Here I would probably use wreck-amen. A wreck would be like a car crash. Amen would be what you might say during prayers.

4) Refer

reef - her or re - fern or reed - fern etc.

5) Substantiate

sub(marine) - stand - he - ate or sup(per) - stain - she - hate etc.

6) Stakes

steaks or stake - huts or even snakes

7) Understand

under - stand (stand, like a table, or stand like standing up) or wonder - stain etc

I think you see how this works.

It doesn't matter if the original word is abstract. What you need to do is convert the sound of the abstract word into non-abstract (concrete) image-words.

And always remember it doesn't have to be an exact match. If I walked up to you and said "wreck-amen", your brain would pretty quickly translate that to "recommend" - especially if recommend was a word you had been studying.


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May 02, 2010
making memory pictures for abstract words
by: Farnham

Hi Doug,
Thanks for your reply. It's working. I have another problem. When trying to associate
words with ludicrous pictures, I cannot.

It takes me a lot of time to think to convert words into pictures particularly abstract words like analysis, secure, recommend, refer, substantiate, stakes, understand, potential, excel, outlook, access, etc.

Do you have a dictionary of word to picture conversions or is there a software which
converts any word into the closest resembling picture.

Thanks & Kind Regards,

May 02, 2010
journeys for Journey Method
by: Douglas - MIT

To find an example of a long journey, all you need to do is look into your own mind. Think about the places you go every day in your town or city, even inside your own home.

For example, I once memorized the names of the 50 U.S. states in alphabetical order using a journey around the first floor of the building where I work. Here is an explanation of how I did this: (Copy and paste into your browser.)

So the journey doesn't need to be a "long" one in terms of distance. It just needs to be one you are very familiar with. One where you can visualize all the landmarks.

I suppose a movie would work too, if you had seen the movie many times and could remember all the scenes.

To answer your third question, you would not want to read a book to get the journey. Instead use the routes you already have in your mind.

A really excellent book that explains all the memory techniques is The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne. I highly recommend it.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


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