mnemonics cicero methodThe essence of the method is that the information should be memorized by units, mentally set in a familiar room in a particular order. Then it is enough to remember this room in order to recall the necessary information. That is exactly what Cicero did in preparation for his performances: he was walking around his house, mentally placing the key points of his speech in it.
Before you begin learning to use this method, you need to decide for yourself in what order you will be moving around the room you have chosen. In other words, you need to determine the sequence of the places where you will be putting your information. You can simply keep it in your head. If this is difficult, then you can try to go around the room in reality like Cicero did, in order to remember the sequence of information units for the first time.

Start with your room as with the most familiar one. Let the starting point be the door, and then move to the left corner, then along the left wall, then to the far left corner, and so on clockwise. When you have master the method of Cicero, you can use more and more items in the room, that is, you will have more places to put information units, but to the moment limit to the most visible objects in the room. The better you remember the location of objects, the greater will be the number of items you can remember. In addition to the left-to-right sequence, follow the top-to-bottom sequence. To memorize lists of different items you can use the whole apartment or house, as well as any other well-known building or location. You should link the memorized elements to the room items by association.

Consider an example. Here are some words: cheese, puppy, plasticine, ruler, thermometer, letter, puddle, forest. We will place them in sequence according to our apartment plan, starting with the corridor. In the example we will use unusual associations to be able to remember this word series even after a long time.

So, stop up the door keyhole with cheese, put the puppy at the door in the left corner, but in order not to forget this standard connection, imagine it gnawing the wallpaper off and yourself trying to stop it.

Glue the plasticine to the mirror so that it closes up almost its entire surface. Attach the ruler to the wardrobe door so that it does not allow it to open up. Then you screw the thermometer in the chandelier instead of the bulb.

Now you move to the room and insert the letter between the door and the jamb. Along the left wall of the room there is a small sofa, and you imagine it standing in a puddle and its legs getting soaked. Finally, imagine a forest growing under the bookshelves and tree branches twist between the books.

The point is to determine in advance which information units will be included in the algorithm. If you don’t, you can easily make a mistake. In general, the Cicero method should be used for more serious things than just memorizing a series of words. It is perfect for memorizing texts, the order of phone calls, etc. However, when information is thematically connected (when it is not just a meaningless series of words or numbers), you can use the same room many times.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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