How do mnemonics help the memory

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You have probably heard of mnemonics (neemon -iks). Mnemonics are storage devices, like a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations, that help you store information in ways that are easier to remember. These devices are notices or links to other information - much like the hyperlinks you click while surfing the Internet. Click a link and another page will appear on your screen.

For example, in spring and fall, people in certain time zones change their times by one hour due to the start or end of daylight saving time. The simple "spring forward, fall back" reminder helps people remember to set their clocks an hour ahead in spring and backward in autumn. Since the verb spring implies an upward or forward movement and the verb autumn implies a backward movement, this catchy phrase is an excellent memory aid. (Of course, many clocks these days automatically set daylight saving time, but the mnemonic will still help you know what is happening.)

To use a reminder, you just have to

  • choose. Decide what to remember.
  • Customize what you want to remember with a picture or word cue.
  • Refer to the note to get your storage.

Think of mnemonics to organize information so that you can easily find it again later. The word mnemonic means “memory support.” You can structure or package your memories so that they are easily available to you. A reminder is like the beginning of a strand of thread. When you pull it, a whole host of memories unfold.

You can use mnemonics to translate information into a form that is easier to remember. They are effective reminders because your brain prefers to remember personal, silly, and logical things to do with rather than drying up factual information and data. By linking the new factual information you need to remember with the corresponding personal information you already know, you can remember it more effectively and in context. Mnemonics allow you to associate new information with a familiar framework so that you can remember it.