The essence of the Cicero method, which is also known as the method of loci, is that the information should be memorized by units, mentally set in a familiar room in a particular order.
If you do it, all it takes to recall the necessary information is to remember this room in detail. 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.
How to practice the Cicero method
Before you begin learning to use the Cicero 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 since it’s the most familiar space that you know better than anything. Let the door be the starting point, 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 mastered 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 the number of items you can remember be.
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 building or location you know in detail. You should link the memorized elements to the room items by association.
Example of using the Cicero method
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 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 sequence. If you don’t, you can easily make a mistake.
In general, the Cicero method should be used for more important things than just memorizing a series of random 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 like in the example above), you can use the same room many times.
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