The Link Method

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The Link Method

This method involves creating associations between items in a list to be remembered. Although it is possible to remember lists of words where each word is just associated with the next, it is more effective to organize items and their associations into a story: otherwise by forgetting just one association, the whole of the rest of the list can be lost.

As an example, you may need to remember a list of counties in the South of England:

Avon, Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Surrey

The Link Method for this list relies on a series of images associated with each other and organized into a story format:

An AVON (Avon) lady knocking on a heavy oak DOoR (Dorset). The DOoR opens to show a beautiful SuMmER landscape with a SETting sun (Somerset). The setting sun shines down onto a field of CORN (Cornwall). The CORN is so dry it is beginning to WILT (Wiltshire). The WILTing stalks slowly fall onto the tail of the sleeping DEVil (Devon). On the DEVil's horn a woman has impailed a GLOSsy (Gloucestershire) HAM (Hampshire) when she hit him over the head with it. Now the Devil feels SoRRY (Surrey) he bothered her.

Note that there need not be any reason or underlying plot to the sequence of images: all that is important are the images and the links between images.

Alternatively this information may be coded by vividly imaging the following scene:

An AVON lady is walking up a path towards a strange house. She is hot and sweating slightly in the heat of high SUMMER (Somerset). Beside the path someone has planted giant CORN in a WALL (Cornwall), but it's beginning to WILT (Wiltshire) in the heat. She knocks on the DOoR (Dorset), which is opened by the DEVil (Devon). In the background she can see a kitchen in which a servant is smearing honey on a HAM (Hampshire), making it GLOSsy (Gloucestershire) and gleam in bright sunlight streaming in through a window. Panicked by seeing the Devil, the Avon lady panics, screams 'SoRRY' (Surrey), and dashes back down the path.

Given the fluid structure of this mnemonic, it is important that the images stored in your mind are as vivid as possible. The more outlandish, comical, ridiculous the images, the stronger they are in your memory. This eases recall.

This technique is expanded by adding images to the story. After a number of images, however, the sys-tem may start to break down.

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