Why are mnemonic visualization techniques often characterized by their eccentricity? It has been suggested to me that when employing these methods, such as the Major System, I should conjure up images and weave narratives that are as outlandish and nonsensical as conceivable. Could the rationale behind this advice be rooted in the propensity of our brains to retain memories of events that deviate from the ordinary?

  • $\begingroup$ The Internet has surprisingly little to say about this beyond listicles of memory tips. $\endgroup$
    – Zenon
    Oct 20, 2017 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


You know how you can easily remember a crazy dream you had, but might forget what you had for lunch last Tuesday? That's because our brains are wired to notice and remember things that stand out from the norm. When something is unusual or funny, it's like it has a little light shining on it in your mind, making it easier to find later.

So, when you're using mnemonics to remember something, making the images and stories as wild and wacky as possible is like turning up that mental spotlight. It's not just a boring list of facts; it's a memorable, vivid scene playing out in your head. The sillier, the better, because it's those 'out there' images that are going to stick around in your memory. Just like a movie with lots of special effects is more memorable than one without, the extra 'special effects' you add to your mnemonics make them easier to recall.

Also, in my view, one of the best mnemonic methods, is the method of loci which has an intriguing history.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for answering this post and also for language editing the Q. On this site, we encourage answers (and Qs for that matter) to be supported by credible sources, preferably journal papers or other reputable platforms. Can you support your statements and mention the weblinks as well? Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Apr 3 at 6:44

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