When you read a book and you want to remember it you can encode the information into mental pictures with associations. This is a technique for remembering the content.

memorable image

The problem is when you encounter abstract concepts. How would you deal with them to create pictures that are more memorizable?

Is there a branch of memory science dealing with encoding techniques?

This question was inspired by a HowToLearn.com article by Pat Wyman, How To Remember Everything You Read Using Mental Pictures.


Read "Moonwalking with Einstein" by Foer or watch or listen to transcripts of the world's memory experts, such as Ben Pridmore. You'll notice that they have their own special techniques to make abstract concepts more memorable. These individuals have increased difficulty with less concrete themes, however, and it may be best to process the to-be-remembered items not by focusing on imagery but, perhaps, semantic meaning or another sort of deep encoding.

  • $\begingroup$ Could you please write in short about their technique? Is something available on the internet? I haven't found the transcripts of Bed Pridmore on the web, has it some title or ISBN? $\endgroup$ – xralf Mar 27 '12 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ I don't necessarily endorse the service offered on this site, but I found this description online -- it's one way these memory experts think: memoryconsulting.com/pridmore.htm $\endgroup$ – Andy DeSoto Mar 27 '12 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ I read the link but still don't have a feeling that the question is answered. But thanks for other useful information. $\endgroup$ – xralf Mar 28 '12 at 8:24

My first psychology professor always encouraged us to try and relate new concepts to concrete examples (hypothetical or real). When that is not possible, I find that elaboration (adding further information that depends on the idea) is a good way to help remember an abstract concept. Of course, both of these methods can be time and effort intensive.


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