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Mnemonic Strategies

MNEMONIC DEVICE FOR THE FIVE GREAT LAKES

Any technique used for the purpose of either assisting in the memorizing of specific material or improving the function of memory in general.

The basic coding procedure common to most mnemonic strategies is to mentally associate, in some manner, items of new or unfamiliar information with various interconnected parts of a familiar, known whole. Mnemonic devices range from the very simple to the remarkably complex. An example of a very simple mnemonic device is the use of the acronymic word HOMES to remember the names of the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior). An example of a remarkably complex mnemonic device is the ancient Greek and Roman system of topical mnemonics, in which a large imaginary house, or even a town full of large imaginary houses, is intricately subdivided into thousands of quadrates, or memory places, each of which is available to be associated with an item of material to be remembered. The difficulties encountered in the application of mnemonic strategies appear to increase as the amount of information to be mastered increases, and involve issues such as ambiguity, confusion, and complexity.

There are several commonly employed mnemonic devices. For example, the method of loci is a system where objects to be remembered are imagined to be arranged in geographical locations, or locations in a building, the map or layout of which is well-known. The learner uses this map or layout to remember unordered items, such as a shopping list, by placing the grocery items on the map, and recalling them later in a wellknown order. In this way, no items will be forgotten or missed.


MNEMONIC DEVICE FOR THE FIVE GREAT LAKES


THIS MNEMONIC DEVICE CAN HELP THE LEARNER REMEMBER THE NAMES OF THE FIVEU.S. GREAT LAKES.

H - Huron

O - Ontario

M - Michigan

E - Erie

S - Superior


Further Reading

Higbee, Kenneth. Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It. New York: Paragon House, 1993.

Maguire, Jack. Your Guide to a Better Memory. New York: Berkley Books, 1995.

Sandstrom, Robert. The Ultimate Memory Book: Remember Anything Quickly and Easily. Granada Hills, CA: Stepping Stone Books, 1990.

Additional topics

Psychology EncyclopediaPsychological Dictionary: Ibn Bajjah (Abu-Bakr Muhammad ibn-Yahya ibn-al-Saʼigh, c.1106–38) Biography to Perception: cultural differences