Memory sport

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Memory sport, sometimes referred to as competitive memory or the mind sport of memory, is a competition in which participants attempt to memorize the most information that they can then present back, under certain guidelines. The sport has been formally developed since 1991, and features regional and international championships.

One common type of competition involves memorizing the order of randomized cards in as little time as possible, after which the competitor is required to arrange new decks of cards in the same order.

Mnemonic techniques are generally considered to be a necessary part of competition, and are improved through extensive practice.[1] These can include the method of loci, the use of mnemonic linking and chunking, or other techniques for storage and retrieval of information.


Techniques for training memory are discussed as far back as Ancient Greece, and formal memory training was long considered an important part of basic education known as the art of memory.[2] However, the development of trained memorization into a sport is only a development of the late 20th century, and even then has remained relatively limited in scope. The first worldwide competition was held as the World Memory Championships in 1991, and has been held again in every year since.[3]


Following the establishment of the World Memory Championships in 1991, regional competitions have been set up in numerous countries. These include the U.S. Championships, which started in 1997,[4] the Indian National Memory Championships,[5] the German Memory Championships,[6] and the UK Open Memory Championships.[7] Other countries with national championships include South Africa, Australia, Singapore, China, Japan and Mexico.[8][9]


The highest designation set up by the World Memory Sports Council, which organizes the World Memory Championships, is the Grand Master of Memory. Joshua Foer wrote in 2005 that there were 36 Grand Masters in the world, including one in the United States.[10]


Competitors describe numerous methods and techniques for improving their memorization skills, with some having published and named their specific methods. These include, for instance, the Mnemonic dominic system, named after former World Champion Dominic O'Brien, the Mnemonic major system, as well as the Person-Action-Object System which involves encoding cards and numbers into sequences of persons, actions, and objects.[11] These methods are sometimes referred to as "mnemotechnics."

Joshua Foer has written, "Though every competitor has his own unique method of memorization for each event, all mnemonic techniques are essentially based on the concept of elaborative encoding, which holds that the more meaningful something is, the easier it is to remember."[12]


A mental file folder system is taught by Memory Technologies Institute. The president Harold Mangum is a cognitive psychologist trained at the University of Texas Dallas. His methods of creating mental file folders as positions within the mind to store information. A system built on neuroscience scientific brain study findings and the process of how the brain works not how to work the brain. Epimemory is the new paradigm now being taught in corporations and public workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada by MTI. The mind's eye concept uses the new brain memory improvement paradigm coupled with a brain maintenance training called Neurobics. MTI"s Epimemory memory improvement program success comes from using mnemonics experientially taught and by coupling positive psychology to create "Learning that Last".

Accredited by National Accounting Board Standards for CPA's, Professional Engineering, Project Management, Banking and Finance and several other professional societies is broadcast twice monthly over the internet on ACPEN/BPN. MTI's motto has been "We remember what we understand, We understand what we pay attention to, and We pay attention to what we need, want or desire

The mental file folder memory improvement system involves creating storage locations within the individuals mind, using the natural picture vocabularies of each individual and then bonded visually with active action. A 21 day follow through system is incorporated into the workbook system to create a new habit loop to achieve unconscious competence levels. The encoding specificity principle is applied to the encoded information for maximum recall at a person's mental fingertips. 10 specialty audio CD/DVD systems have been developed and implemented with workbooks for the attendee. Certification is available and licensing partnerships sold both nationally and internationally.

The new Memory Improvement paradigm is called EPIMEMORY & Neurobics articles are available on Ezines, US Radio and Television and published Dapper magazines in the U.S.


While the potential subject matter for memory competitions could be limitless, the World Memory Championships feature ten specific tests as follows:

  1. One Hours Numbers (23712892....)
  2. 5 Minute Numbers
  3. Spoken Numbers, read out one per second
  4. 30 Minutes Binary Digits (011100110001001....)
  5. One Hour Playing Cards (as many decks of cards as possible)
  6. Random Lists of Words (House, playing, Orphan, Encyclopedia....)
  7. Names and Faces (15 minutes, world record: 195 names)
  8. 5min Historic Dates (fictional events and historic years)
  9. Abstract Images (black and white randomly generated spots)
  10. Speed Cards - Always the last discipline. Memorize the order of one shuffled deck of 52 playing cards as fast as possible. World record: 21.90 seconds.

Other types of memory competitions may not feature timed events. For instance, records for the memorization of π (known as piphilology) have been recorded since the 1970s, with the current record holder having produced from memory more than 60,000 digits.


Memory sport is continuing to have its records broken rapidly. A recent world speed record for memorizing a deck of cards was 21.19 seconds, held by Simon Reinhard of Germany.[13] A recent world record for the most digits memorized in five minutes was 500.[14] Two years later the record was beaten by Johannes Mallow by just one digit.[15]

See also[edit]



RNG v1.0 Random Number Generator for training Working Memory

External links[edit]