Mnemonic and Mnemonic devices

Mnemonic meaning 

If you want to increase your chances of remembering (and especially recalling) information, you can make use of several techniques, collectively called mnemonics.

Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices are specific techniques to help you memorize lists of words (Best, 2003). Essentially, such devices add meaning to otherwise meaningless or arbitrary lists of items.

For example, if you want to learn vocabulary words in a foreign language for body parts, sing those words to yourself in a melody that you like and know well (see, for example, Moore et al., 2008).  A variety of methods-categorical clustering, acronyms, acrostics, interactive imagery among items, peg words, and the method of loci-can help you to memorize lists of words and vocabulary items. They are the most frequently used.
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Categorical clustering: Organize a list of items into a set of categories.

Example: If you needed to remember to buy apples, milk, bagels, grapes, yogurt, rolls, Swiss cheese, grapefruit, and lettuce, you would be better able to do so if you tried to memorize the items by categories: fruits—apples, grapes, grapefruit; dairy products—milk, yogurt, Swiss cheese; bread—bagels, rolls; vegetables—lettuce.

Interactive images: Create interactive images that link the isolated words in a list.

Example: Suppose you have to remember to buy socks, guavas, and a pair of scissors. Now you might imagine using scissors to cut a sock that has guava stuffed in it.

Pegword system: Associate each new word with a word on a previously memorized the list and form an interactive image between the two words.

Examples: One such list is from a nursery rhyme: One is a bun. Two is a shoe. Three is a tree, and so on. To remember that you need to buy socks, guavas, and a pair of scissors, you might imagine guava between two buns, a sock stuffed inside a shoe, and a pair of scissors cutting a tree. When you need to remember the words, so firstly you recall the numbered images and then recall the words as you visualize them in the interactive images.

Method of loci:  Visualize walking around an area with distinctive landmarks that you know well, and then link the various landmarks to specific items to be remembered

Example: When you need to memorize a list of words, mentally walk past each of the distinctive landmarks, depositing each word to be memorized at one of the landmarks. Visualize an interactive image between the new word and the landmark.

For example, If you wished to remember the list of items mentioned previously, you might envision an aardvark nibbling at the roots of a familiar tree, a table setting on the sidewalk in front of an empty lot, a pencil-shaped statue in the center of a fountain, and so all. When you wished to remember the list, you

would take your mental walk and pick up the words you had linked to each of the landmarks along the walk.

Acronyms: one devises a word or expression in which each of its letters stands for a certain other word or concept. An example is the UK for the United Kingdom. ( USA, IQ, and laser)

Example: Suppose that you want to remember the names of the mnemonic devices described in this chapter. The acronym “IAM PACK” might prompt you to remember Interactive images, Acronyms, Method of loci, Pegwords, Acrostics, Categories, and Keywords. Of course, this technique is more useful if the first letters of the words to be memorized actually can be formed into a word phrase, or something close to one, even if the word or phrase is nonsensical, as in this example.

Acrostics: one forms a sentence rather than a single word to help one remember new words.

Example: Music students trying to memorize the names of the notes found on lines of the treble clef (the higher notes; specifically E, G, B, D, and F above middle C) learn that “Every Good Boy Does Fine.”

OR For example, one might remember that “every good boy does fine” to recall the names of notes found on the lines of the treble clef in music.

Keyword system: one forms an interactive image that links the sound and meaning of a foreign word with the sound and meaning of a familiar word. 

Example: To remember the word libro, for example, which means “book” in Spanish, one might associate libro with liberty. Then think of the Statue of Liberty holding up a large book instead of a torch.


Sternberg, R. J., & Mio, J. S. (2009). Cognitive psychology.6th ed. Australia: Cengage Learning/Wadsworth

Mnemonics Devices

Technique explanation example description categorical

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