Mnemonics (pronounced “ne-mon’-ics”) assist the memory by using a system of rhymes, rules, phrases, diagrams or acronyms.
They help to remember and memorize, to recall trivial information such as names, dates, facts or figures.
They do that by turning original information into an easy more appealing rhyme or sentence. This can be stored into your brain in bigger ‘meaningful’ chunks.
When you need the original you can reproduce that by translating the mnemonic memory.
For example: ‘Roy G Biv‘ helps you reproduce the names and order of the colors of the rainbow. Every letter stands for a color (R for red, O for Orange, ….).
The order is preserved by the somewhat meaningless sentence Roy G Biv.
For some reason we as humans even remember meaningless sentences better than storing the complete original information (order of things).
- The information is translated into ‘meaningfull’ parts (chunked)
- Then stored in our brain
– Once reproduced (remembered) it can be re-translated into the original data
Other names for a mnemonic device are: memory tool, memorizing aid, aid to memory, memory device, learning device, learning trick or brain tool. Sometimes it’s confused with a pneumonic device, which is equipment used for lungs. They are all names for the same, an easy way to help you use your memory more effectively, to memorize more effectively.
There even is a mnemonic for the spelling if the word ‘mnemonic‘ itself.
A mnemonic (pron.: /nəˈmɒnɨk/, with a silent “m”), or mnemonic device, is any learning technique that aids information retention. Mnemonics aim to translate information into a form that the human brain can retain better than its original form. Even the process of applying this conversion might already aid the transfer of information to long-term memory. Commonly encountered mnemonics are often for lists and in auditory form, such as short poems, acronyms, or memorable phrases, but mnemonics can also be for other types of information and in visual or kinesthetic forms. Their use is based on the observation that the human mind more easily remembers spatial, personal, surprising, physical, sexual, humorous, or otherwise ‘relatable’ information, rather than more abstract or impersonal forms of information.
The word mnemonic is derived from the Ancient Greek word μνημονικός (mnēmonikos), meaning “of memory” and is related to Mnemosyne (“remembrance”), the name of the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. Both of these words are derived from μνήμη (mnēmē), “remembrance, memory”. Mnemonics in antiquity were most often considered in the context of what is today known as the Art of memory.
Ancient Greeks and Romans distinguished between two types of memory: the ‘natural’ memory and the ‘artificial’ memory. The former is inborn, and is the one that everyone uses automatically and without thinking. The artificial memory in contrast has to be trained and developed through the learning and practicing of a variety of mnemonic techniques.
Mnemonic systems are special techniques or strategies consciously used to improve memory, it helps employ information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization an easier task
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