Talk:Method of loci

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Mistaken plural or pedant?[edit]

the Wiktionary page on this word cites it as being an irregular second declension, being both masculine and neuter at times. The neuter meaning typically refers to large interconnected spaces, a la regions, while the masculine plural meaning would be more akin to the adjoining rooms of a manor. Now, I personally don't care, and I'm sure we can't cite Wiktionary as a source, so if someone can find a source that confirms this tidbit of pedantry, please put it up, otherwise I feel it should be removed, as it adds nothing to the article. -- (talk) 21:27, 20 November 2014 (UTC)


I haven't seen any research studies which is surprising given the web and contemporary interest in mental developement. Anyone able to add some links? Wblakesx (talk) 04:28, 23 January 2014 (UTC)wblakesx

Missing reference[edit]

Where's the reference to "Luria (1969)"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:58, 7 March 2011 (UTC)


I am doing a project on the Loci Method and I would like a picture? {Rebecca Torres Febuary 24,2007}

I'm working on it. I've got a bunch of them. —Viriditas | Talk 05:25, 11 May 2007 (UTC)


I remember reading or watching something where a person used the Periodic Table of Elements and associated objects or words to specific elements or their given atomic weight (the entire table was memorized forehand). Say someone needs to remember a telephone number or address, they just associat the numbers to the element weight. Ex. Fluorine Hydrogen Hydrogen would be “911”.


Art of Memory[edit]

I am rather disappointed that teh Artof memory has een reduced to the Method of Loci, which is clearly one element of it. We also have visual alphabets, etc, etc. I feel we need a separate art of memory page with a section on the psychology page, and with a method Loci section linking to this as the main article. What do otehrs think?Harrypotter 08:18, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Make it so. —Viriditas | Talk 09:18, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

From Talk:Mnemonic room system[edit]

I am copying the below info from the talk page of Mnemonic room system as I am in the process of redirected it. --AbsolutDan (talk) 00:46, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Is this the same as the LOCI method? Aliby22 21:36, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

It is. The article Method of loci explains it sufficiently, so this one might be removed. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by HermannSoergel (talkcontribs) 13:17, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I am redirecting Mnemonic room system to Method of loci per the above information and the fact that the m.r.s. article has zero sources. --AbsolutDan (talk) 00:44, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Support. —Viriditas | Talk 00:47, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Original text follows:
A mnemonic room system, or Roman room method, is a method of remembering items using a description of a room, based on creating an association between the item and the room. For example, if one wished to remember the items (dog, envelope, thirteen, wool, window), one could visualise a room, possibly one's own sitting room, and associate a particular item with a particular object/spot/position within the room: imagine a rainbow coloured dog sitting astride the dining table with a ludicrously long rainbow coloured tail snaking through all the chairs; imagine the walls covered in vivid paintings which all have envelopes as their subject in some way, every single painting; imagine a television with the shape of the digits 1 and 3 side by side, which is unlucky as it means nothing can be clearly seen the screen, only some voice somebody saying "unlucky for some" over and over again; imagine the dog is eating a bowl of blues spaghetti, which, upon closer inspection, appears to be blue wool; imagine the floor is a window through which only mud is visible, and it keeps cracking every time weight is put on it - a useless window in a silly place.
In theory one should be able to retain these items in memory longer than learning them by rote due to the fact that it is not just a method for storing words (abstract symbols at best), but are storing information about the words, whether the information is real or imagined (which you can visualise). Using this method, which is really just another form of the mnemonic peg system, one can remember and subsequently recall information any order, according to how one wishes go through the room mentally. However, one is usually initially limited by a lack imagination/creativity, though with some practice one can easily come up with many ideas.
A similar mnemonic technique is the story system, which uses a story instead of a description of a room. For example, if one wished to remember the list above (dog, envelope, thirteen, wool, window), one could create a story such as "There once was a dog stuck in an envelope, who was mailed to an unlucky black cat playing with a ball of wool by the window". This technique is better for memorizing items in an ordered list; the room system is better for unordered lists (using the story system, to recall the item "thirteen", the entire list has to be traversed in the story).

Art of Memory vs. Method of Loci[edit]

The title for this article is obscure and imprecise. The Art of Memory is a well known group of techniques. "Method of loci" on the other hand is a particularly clumsy way of referring to one aspect of the artificial memory and takes no account of other methods nor of the natural memory, which is properly the basis for the artificial memory. Can anyone explain why this title has been chosen? It seems indefensible. --Picatrix (talk) 01:48, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

I have not gotten any reply to my previous posting. Because the "Method of Loci" is only one aspect of the art, I have removed the redirect to method of loci and posted a basic article on the Art of Memory. I plan to improve and expand it over the coming weeks. --Picatrix (talk) 12:39, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

I responded to this above at 09:18, 29 April 2007 (UTC) when it was raised by another editor. Viriditas (talk) 12:44, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

The 'Method of loci' article now seems to be redundant when compared with the more inclusive 'Art of memory' article. It has been suggested that this article be merged into the Art of memory article. It appears this process is more or less complete. Before removing/redirecting this article I wanted to check with other editors to see if any object, and if so, why. --Picatrix (talk) 12:19, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

(Just looking at this article for the first time.) I think the reason for a separate article is that the MoL has relevance beyond the Art of Memory -- the term continues to be used by psychologists today. Some of the relevant material is already discussed here, and I'd like to add a bit more when I get the chance. Looie496 (talk) 19:41, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Followup -- you might be interested in this article. Looie496 (talk) 19:50, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm not particularly fond of the 'Method of Loci' designation as "method" is simply the word favored today for the same thing "ars" was used to indicate in the past, and because it seems that most mnemonic techniques in use rely in some fashion on spatial relationships. However, there is probably some justification for maintaining a separate article with a 'psychological' (or neurological) focus. If 'MoL' is the term favored in the academic literature I suppose we're stuck with it. That said, this article is primarily about techniques from the art of memory which have been retrospectively dubbed 'MoL'. If this is going to stand as a separate article, my vote would be to rewrite it to reflect modern psychological and neurobiological studies of the role of space in memory. The paper you provided a link for is a good example of precisely the kind of material that should provide a basis for this article (as well as things like Luria's Mind of a Mnemonist, etc.). I'm not qualified to write such an article from this perspective - though I could help. If you feel up for it, I think that this article should be taken in this direction. If you are one of the authors of the study you provided a link to I would be interested in asking you some questions about research into brain regions associated spatial orientation and navigation among animals and whether or not any such research might have been cross-referenced with similar research on human subjects. --Picatrix (talk) 13:28, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I am not one of the authors, but I do specialize in the role of the hippocampus in spatial coding and memory. There is a moderately extensive literature aiming to extend to rat/mouse work to humans. Eleanor Maguire's work is some of the best known, but there are a few other groups who have also contributed, either using functional imaging or by looking at spatial deficits in patients with hippocampal damage. The classic 1978 book by O'Keefe and Nadel, The hippocampus as a cognitive map, already discussed the method of loci briefly, but I'm not sure how much followup there has been on that aspect. Looie496 (talk) 18:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. I'll try to start with the O'Keefe and Nadel study as it looks close to the mark. Are you interested in reworking this article to reflect the emphasis on psychology and neurobiology that the 'Method of Loci' designator would seem to reflect? --Picatrix (talk) 22:33, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
This article still does not contain any information of value that is not contained in the more extensive "Art of memory" article, which I put together carefully so as not leave out anything that was mentioned here. One editor, above, has expressed an interest in keeping this article, but no changes or developments here have been forthcoming. I suggest that this article be removed and any searches for "Method of loci" redirected to the "Art of memory" article. --Picatrix (talk) 10:43, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

World Record[edit]

Ben Pridmore's record time cited on this page (26.28 sec) does not coincide with the time cited on his page or the "Eidetic Memory" article's page (24.68 sec). Anyone working on this article might wish to update this. ---S.Reemas, 1/26/09 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:06, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposed focused redirect or rewrite for this article[edit]

Method of Loci ('method of places') is a term used to describe mnemonic techniques that rely on spatial relationships. This descriptive term is most often used as a variant designator for what is otherwise (and more commonly) referred to as the "art (or arts) of memory" (Yates) or more specifically the "architectural mnemonic" (Carruthers). This term is most commonly found in contemporary works on psychology, where it is more or less interchangeable with "art of memory". For example:

method of loci A mnemonic strategy (memory aid) in which the items to be remembered are converted into mental images and associated with specific positions or locations; for example, to remember the name of each person sitting around a table, the table might be envisioned as a clock and the faces of each person associated with an hour position and the hour to a name. This method was used by orators during the Roman Empire. [Raymond J. Corsini, The Dictionary of Psychology, Psychology Press, 1999, p592]

However, there is evidence that, with training, at least some age deficits can be overcome. One method is to train older people in the method of loci technique. This involves memorising a series of mental pictures of familiar scenes, such as the rooms in one's house. Each TBR item is mentally placed in a scene, and then the list is recalled by making the imaginary journey, recalling what was stored in each picture." [Ian Stuart-Hamilton, The Psychology of Ageing: An Introduction, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2000, p95]

Visual imagery is the basis for a well-known mnemonic technique called the method of loci (Yates, 1966). This was known to Greek and Roman orators and can be found in many self-help books on how to improve your memory. [Colin Ware, Information Visualization: Perception For Design, Morgan Kaufmann, 2004 p369]

Loftus cites the foundation story of Simonides (more or less taken from Yates, 1966) and describes some of the most basic aspects of the use of space in the art of memory. She states, "This particular mnemonic technique has come to be called the "method of loci". [Elizabeth F. Loftus, Human Memory: The Processing of Information, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1976, p65] Referring to mnemonic methods, Verlee Williams mentions, "One such strategy is the "loci" method, which was developed by Simonedes, a Greek poet of the fifth an sixth centuries BC" [Linda Verlee Williams, Teaching For The Two-Sided Mind: A Guide to Right Brain/Left Brain Education, Simon & Schuster, 1986, p110]

This use of this term predates its current appearances in more or less contemporary psychology. For example, in a discussion of "topical memory" (yet another designator) published in 1835, Alexander Jamieson mentions that "memorial lines, or verses, are more useful than the method of loci." [Alexander Jamieson, A Grammar of Logic and Intellectual Philosophy, A. H. Maltby, 1835, p112]

This term can be misleading: the ancient principles and techniques of the art of memory, hastily mentioned in some of the citations above, depended equally upon images and places. The designator "method of loci" does not convey the equal weight placed on both elements. In any case, the art of arts of memory as a whole, as practiced in classical antiquity, are far more inclusive and comprehensive in their treatment of this subject.

This article should be rewritten to emphasize the "method of loci" as a particular designator in psychology, and should include a link to "art of memory" as a primary article. Focus here should be on study of the use of locations and images in psychology and neurobiology. Until such an article is available, I propose either: A. redirecting to Art of memory or B. placing a few short placeholder paragraphs about the term and its relation to the art of memory, and clearly stating that this term is most current in psychology and neurobiology, while the Art of memory article is the main resource for this information. The issue here is, fundamentally, how to organize the content here within Wikipedia. As the fullest treatment exists in the Art of memory article, and as that article treats the subject of ancient mnemonic practice as a whole, and the so-called "method of loci" more fully than it is dealt with here, it should be the primary article. At present this article is a mishmash of old disconnected snippets, which are in any case redundant when compared to the Art of memory article. --Picatrix (talk) 11:56, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

There are several problems. First, this article is supposed to be the longer version of a summary style section at Art_of_memory#Architectural_mnemonic. That psychology misues or confuses the term should not change this process. Viriditas (talk) 12:03, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I've added {{main|Method of loci}} back in to the Art_of_memory#Architectural_mnemonic section. I don't know why it was removed. Viriditas (talk) 12:07, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
The lead section needs to be changed to add a link to the art of memory and reposition it as a subtopic. Viriditas (talk) 12:08, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
After thinking about this a bit longer, if you truly believe a redirect is a better solution, I would support that as well. I'll leave this in your hands. But if you think the section will grow longer than necessary, leave it here. Viriditas (talk) 13:06, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My own inclination is to just stick a redirect in and leave it at that. But in all fairness that's not really acceptable. The problem, so far as I can tell, centers on the fact that we have two disciplines (broadly Psychology and History) that address the same phenomenon. The terminology and categorical designations of History are more comprehensive and accurate. But the Psychological approach deserves its due, and the terminology current in this field is familiar to some. I'm convinced that in approaching the subject of historically attested mnemonics the terms and categories of History are most appropriate (e.g. Carruthers and Yates), hence my use of them in the 'main' article. But studies of memory in Psychology, and its relation to spatial orientation (particularly as regards the hippocampus) have been developing independently - and the findings here deserve attention. Insofar as we're writing encyclopedia articles we need to represent both approaches. My guess is that developing this article as 'the Psychological take' on the subject, and then adding the lead paragraph from this article to the 'Art of memory' article would be an acceptable solution. The problem is that I'll have to really dig into the subject in order to produce something viable. I'm guessing that I should try to write a basic 'starter' article on the Psychological view of the subject and then incorporate a paragraph of mention in the 'Art of memory' article. If you have any other suggestions, or you can recommend another approach, I'd be very glad to hear it! --Picatrix (talk) 20:55, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I've finished the preliminary rewrite. --Picatrix (talk) 18:55, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not convinced this was the best solution. Looks like a redirect might be better with new articles properly disambiguated as needed. Viriditas (talk) 19:58, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what you mean. Can you explain? New articles?--Picatrix (talk) 04:59, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, new articles. You are using one article with a primary topic designation for disambiguation. Standard procedure is to redirect to the primary topic (art of memory) and disambiguate from there. Viriditas (talk) 11:29, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
"New articles" could refer to content and/or organization. In this case you are talking about changing how the content is organized. However, I note that you have not responded to any of the issues I raised earlier in this discussion, above. The issue is with how these subjects are organized in the various academic disciplines. Different disciplines refer to the same object of study in different ways. Disambiguation is used to deal with the use of the same term to refer to different things. In this case, we manifestly have a case where different terms (art/arts of memory as a general categorical designator for an historical phenomenon and method of loci for one technique employed in these pre-modern mnemonics) are used to refer to the same things in distinct (though often overlapping) contexts: on one hand pre-modern mnemonics viewed from the perspective of rhetoric, history, philosophy - on the other the exploration of one pre-modern mnemonic technique/principle viewed from the perspective of psychology and neurobiology. If one applies this 'logic' to, for example, How then is this a disambiguation issue? How then are "new articles" (whether you mean by that changed organization or changed content) warranted? I'm happy to hear any suggestions, but I fear in this case we are not 'on the same page'. --Picatrix (talk) 10:04, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
We're not on the same page because you seem to have forgotten that you originally proposed a new article by claiming that this article should be about method of loci (psychology) while at the same time admitting that that method of loci is synonymous with the art of memory. The summary style in the main art of memory article duplicates the origins and history section and presents a history of etymology and usage (with quite a number of unsourced assertions). In other words, the section doesn't make any sense, nor does this article. The method of loci is the art of memory. I'm still not clear on what this page is about other than duplicating the art of memory page and talking about applications of the concept. We don't need two pages about the same thing. Viriditas (talk) 11:20, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

How would cutting this page down to a redirect involve "new articles"? As for my changing my mind about the importance of Method of Loci as a separate conceptual category, dealing with issues that are distinct from those that might be covered in the art of memory article (such as the the role of the hippocampus in spatial mnemonics), I reserve the right to change my mind whenever I like, given that it is a concomitant of learning new things. When I brought up the very issue that MoL seemed to be used interchangeably with AoM another editor pointed out the use of the term in psychology (as you can read above). After he or she pointed this out I looked into it. It seemed to me after doing so that MoL warranted a separate article. That said, content issues are something else. If you feel that using the same text as a summary in AoM in the MoL section is wrong I'm happy to change it. I can rewrite it, I can summarize it more briefly, etc. If you really want to cut this article down to a redirect I suppose we can do that also, but I would check with the other editor to see what his or her feelings are. In any case we've got a technical term in use in psychology to refer to the architectural mnemonic, which is only one part of the art of memory (graphical mnemonic, textual mnemonic, etc.). The MoL is not AoM. One technique used in the art or arts, which is what the MoL deals with, is not synonymous or interchangeable with the art of memory as a whole. Please make concrete suggestions and I'll be happy to accommodate you as best I can. --Picatrix (talk) 15:35, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, but the article is simply not acceptable in its current state. Viriditas (talk) 01:52, 12 November 2011 (UTC)


While I found the subject matter of this article intriguing, reading through the body of its contents was extremely tedious and unneccessarily redundant. A good example would be these statements in the third passage of the lead:

- Steven M. Kosslyn remarks "[t]his insight led to the development of a technique the Greeks called the method of loci, which is a systematic way of improving one's memory by using imagery."
- Skoyles and Sagan indicate that "an ancient technique of memorization called Method of Loci, by which memories are referenced directly onto spatial maps" originated with the story of Simonides.
- ...Verlee Williams mentions, "One such strategy is the 'loci' method, which was developed by Simonides, a Greek poet of the fifth and sixth centuries BC"
- Loftus cites the foundation story of Simonides (more or less taken from Frances Yates) and describes some of the most basic aspects of the use of space in the art of memory. She states, "This particular mnemonic technique has come to be called the "method of loci".

Each of these statements is more or less saying the same thing.
This article desperately needs the attention of someone who is well versed in the material because, as it's presented right now (after removing all the redundant hoobajoo), it appears to be better served as just a section in the broader subject of memorization techniques.
-K10wnsta (talk) 20:15, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. I've tried to work with Picatrix before but his approach to editing was vastly different from my own. I will give this another look. Viriditas (talk) 01:52, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Opening paragraph[edit]

The opening paragraph talks about history. I think it should talk about what the method actually is, and leave history for later. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:31, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

The amount of words used for history is not the majority of the opening paragraph. The list of three classical works, might be moved later in the article, but there isn't a History section, or much mention of history later. They might also be moved inside a <ref></ref>.
The Art of memory covers the Method of loci well, as well as it's history. It's much better organized and developed. It covers the same ground. This article really should be merged there to avoid the duplication, and give our readers this info in one place. This merge has been discussed above, but those arguments don't serve this encyclopedia and it's readers well. Lentower (talk) 13:02, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Editorial style of Contemporary Usage[edit]

This section has an overall tone of strong support for the work of "Mark Sadler" and for the method of loci itself. Specific examples include:

How can objective and large differences in learning times, between those using one-trial learning and those using other methods, such as 'making up stories', or just trying to remember in various ways, be dismissed as 'subjective'?
It has been found that teaching such techniques as pure memorization methods often leads students towards surface learning only. Therefore, it has been recommended that the method of loci should be integrated thoroughly with deeper learning approaches.
Mark Sadler, author of “The Secret of Rapid Learning” (2007) believes references to “deeper learning approaches” are without clear meaning, therefore unscientific, and probably a reflection of continuing opposition to efficient and deliberate learning.
In other words, challenges to the current disapproval of deliberate learning should not be published.
In comparison with the simple quick method advocated in Sadler’s book, all this is extraordinary.
Indeed, most books on mnemonics advocate time wasting elaborations because of an imperfect understanding of one-trial spatial learning.

The section is also sorely lacking in citations. Furthermore, when cited, it is insufficient and un-wikified:

Like other writers of books on mnemonics, eg “The Memory Book”, by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas ... on page 100, Ad Herennium ...
This contrasts with the learning instruction given by Ed Cook to Joshua Foer (“Moonwalking with Einstein”, p.99)

I opine that the editorial tone, the lack of citations, and the errors in citation style, grammar, and spelling are inextricable from the current state of the section (and perhaps the article); a full rewrite may be necessary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Achlysis (talkcontribs) 23:45, 24 June 2012

Memory Theatre Reference[edit]

Memory Theaters, derived from loci-based memory arts, have been a subject of renewed research within the last decade. Examples include the text by German aesthetician Peter Matussek: as well as the 2011 conference held in the Netherlands "Camillo 2.0", referenced at and elsewhere on the web.

Robert Edgar — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:38, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Wrong reference[edit]

The section that reads,

 In Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris, a detailed description of Hannibal Lector's memory palace is provided.[33][34]

is wrong. It's actually 'Hannibal'. 'Hannibal Rising' barely gets into the memory palace, and the SciAmerican link even quotes from 'Hannibal'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 14 August 2018 (UTC)