Method of Loci


The word loci derives from the Latin locus meaning ‘place’. The method of loci is the oldest known formal method of using spatial locations to remember data.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
– Mark Twain

The method was originally used by students of rhetoric in ancient Rome when memorizing speeches. To use it one must first memorize the appearance of a physical location; for example, the sequence of rooms in a building.

“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”
– Antonio Porchia

The method is a general designation for mnemonic techniques that rely on memorised spatial relationships to establish, order and recollect memorial content. When a list of words, for example, needs to be memorized, the learner visualizes an object representing that word in one of the locations. To recall the list, the learner mentally walks through the memorized locations, noticing the objects placed there during the memorization phase.

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