This Ancient Greek Technique Can Actually Double Your Memory, Say Scientists

Sherlock Holmes' 'Mind Palace' is real, and it actually works.

Trying to remember things can be difficult, we’re only human after all.

Well what if we told you that there was an ancient technique that could effectively double your memory.

Researchers from Radboud University have found scientific proof that by creating a fictional place in your mind and then ‘storing’ your memories inside it you can massively increase your ability to remember.


If that technique sounds familiar than you’ve probably seen it being used in the hugely successful TV show Sherlock. The detective uses his ‘Mind Palace’ to help piece together clues and remember facts with almost photographic precision.

Well it turns out that not only is a ‘Mind Palace’ a real thing, but with enough training anyone can create their own.

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After just 40 days of daily 30-minute training sessions, the researchers found that individuals who had typical memory skills and no previous training could effectively double the amount of words they could remember.

From remembering an average of just 26 words out of a possible 72 the researchers found that individuals could now remember on average 62.

“After training we see massively increased performance on memory tests,” says first author Martin Dresler, assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience at Radboud University Medical Center. “Not only can you induce a behavioral change, the training also induces similar brain connectivity patterns as those seen in memory athletes.”

What makes this research so fascinating though is that it seemingly proves that having an incredible memory isn’t necessarily tied to you as an individual. People aren’t born memory athletes, they have entirely similar brains to us but like all athletes they train incredibly hard.

The idea of location or image-based memory isn’t new, in fact it can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks where the original idea is credited to the Greek poet Simonides of Ceos.

It’s also a well-documented memory technique used by world-class memory athletes and as a recognised form of memory training. What was missing of course, was the hard-scientific evidence to back it up.

So how does it work?

The technique is actually remarkably simple. In essence it’s based around the principle of creating a ‘place’ inside your head that you can then travel around.

Within that space you then store the information that you want to specifically remember, such as numbers, words or places.

Once the test subjects had mastered the technique the researchers found that it didn’t require much more training to maintain the same level of ability.


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