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A mnemonic () device, or memory device, is any
learning technique
learning technique
that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human
memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If s could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, r ...

memory
for better understanding. Mnemonics make use of
elaborative encoding Elaborative encoding is a mnemonic A mnemonic (, the first "m" is not pronounced) device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory Memory is the faculty of ...
, retrieval cues, and imagery as specific tools to encode information in a way that allows for efficient storage and retrieval. Mnemonics aid original information in becoming associated with something more accessible or meaningful—which, in turn, provides better retention of the information. Commonly encountered mnemonics are often used for lists and in auditory form, such as
short poems
short poems
,
acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many la ...
s, initialisms, or memorable phrases, but mnemonics can also be used for other types of information and in
visual The visual system comprises the sensory organ A sense is a biological system A biological system is a complex network which connects several biologically relevant entities. Biological organization spans several scales and are determined ba ...

visual
or
kinesthetic Proprioception ( ), also referred to as kinaesthesia (or kinesthesia), is the sense Sense relates to any of the systems and corresponding organs involved in sensation, i.e. the physical process of responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli and ...
forms. Their use is based on the observation that the human mind more easily remembers spatial, personal, surprising, physical, sexual, humorous, or otherwise "relatable" information, rather than more abstract or impersonal forms of information. The word "mnemonic" is derived from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient Greek was the language of an ...
word (), meaning 'of memory' or 'relating to memory' and is related to
Mnemosyne Mnemosyne (; el, Μνημοσύνη, ) is the Greek god, goddess of memory in Greek mythology. "Mnemosyne" is derived from the same source as the word ''mnemonic'', that being the Greek word ''mnēmē'', which means "remembrance, memory". Mnem ...

Mnemosyne
("remembrance"), the name of the goddess of memory in
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. Modern study the myths t ...
. Both of these words are derived from (), 'remembrance, memory'. Mnemonics in antiquity were most often considered in the context of what is today known as the
art of memory The art of memory (Latin: ''ars memoriae'') is any of a number of loosely associated mnemonic A mnemonic () device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory ...
. Ancient Greeks and Romans distinguished between two types of memory: the "natural" memory and the "artificial" memory. The former is inborn, and is the one that everyone uses instinctively. The latter in contrast has to be trained and developed through the learning and practice of a variety of mnemonic techniques. Mnemonic systems are techniques or strategies consciously used to improve memory. They help use information already stored in
long-term memory Long-term memory (LTM) is the stage of the Atkinson–Shiffrin memory model The Atkinson–Shiffrin model (also known as the multi-store model or modal model) is a model of memory proposed in 1968 by Richard C. Atkinson, Richard Atkinson and Ric ...
to make
memorization Memorization is the process of committing something to memory Memory is the faculty of the brain A brain is an organ (biology), organ that serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals. It is l ...
an easier task.


History

The general name of mnemonics, or ''memoria technica'', was the name applied to devices for aiding the memory, to enable the mind to reproduce a relatively unfamiliar idea, and especially a series of dissociated ideas, by connecting it, or them, in some artificial whole, the parts of which are mutually suggestive. Mnemonic devices were much cultivated by
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Sophists specialized in one or more subject areas, such as philosophy, rhetoric, music, athletics, and mathematics. They taught ...
s and
philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...

philosopher
s and are frequently referred to by
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
. In later times the poet
Simonides Simonides of Ceos (; grc-gre, Σιμωνίδης ὁ Κεῖος; c. 556–468 BC) was a Greek lyric poet, born at Ioulis on Kea (island), Ceos. The scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria included him in the canonical list of the nine lyric poe ...
was credited for development of these techniques, perhaps for no reason other than that the power of his memory was famous.
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people ...

Cicero
, who attaches considerable importance to the art, but more to the principle of order as the best help to memory, speaks of
Carneades Carneades (; el, Καρνεάδης, ''Karneadēs'', "of Carnea Carneia ( grc, Κάρνεια, or grc, Καρνεῖα ''Karneia'', or grc, Κάρνεα ''Karnea'') was the name of one of the tribal traditional festival of Sparta Spar ...

Carneades
(perhaps Charmades) of
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 rect 15 475 485 874 rect 500 475 ...

Athens
and
Metrodorus of Scepsis Metrodorus of Scepsis ( el, Μητρόδωρος ὁ Σκήψιος) (c. 145 BCE – 70 BCE), from the town of Scepsis in ancient Mysia, was a friend of Mithridates VI of Pontus and celebrated in antiquity for the excellence of his memory. He ma ...
as distinguished examples of people who used well-ordered images to aid the memory. The
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
valued such helps in order to support facility in public speaking. The Greek and the Roman system of mnemonics was founded on the use of mental places and signs or pictures, known as "topical" mnemonics. The most usual method was to choose a large house, of which the apartments, walls, windows, statues, furniture, etc., were each associated with certain names, phrases, events or ideas, by means of symbolic pictures. To recall these, an individual had only to search over the apartments of the house until discovering the places where images had been placed by the imagination. In accordance with this system, if it were desired to fix a historic date in memory, it was localised in an imaginary town divided into a certain number of districts, each with ten houses, each house with ten rooms, and each room with a hundred
quadrat A quadrat is a frame, traditionally square, used in ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physica ...

quadrat
es or memory-places, partly on the floor, partly on the four walls, partly on the ceiling. Therefore, if it were desired to fix in the memory the date of the invention of printing (1436), an imaginary book, or some other symbol of printing, would be placed in the thirty-sixth quadrate or memory-place of the fourth room of the first house of the historic district of the town. Except that the rules of mnemonics are referred to by
Martianus Capella Martianus Minneus Felix Capella (fl. c. 410–420) was a Latin literature, Latin prose writer of Late antiquity, Late Antiquity, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education. H ...
, nothing further is known regarding the practice until the 13th century. Among the voluminous writings of
Roger Bacon Roger Bacon (; la, Rogerus or ', also '' Rogerus''; ), also known by the Scholastic accolades, scholastic accolade ''Doctor Mirabilis'', was a medieval England, medieval English philosopher and Franciscans, Franciscan friar who placed consider ...
is a tractate ''De arte memorativa''.
Ramon Llull Ramon Llull (; c. 1232 – c. 1315/16) was a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, ...

Ramon Llull
devoted special attention to mnemonics in connection with his ''ars generalis.'' The first important modification of the method of the Romans was that invented by the German poet Konrad Celtes, who, in his ''Epitoma in utramque Ciceronis rhetoricam cum arte memorativa nova'' (1492), used letters of the
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic ...

alphabet
for associations, rather than places. About the end of the 15th century, Petrus de Ravenna (b. 1448) provoked such astonishment in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the . Italy is located in the centre of th ...

Italy
by his mnemonic feats that he was believed by many to be a
necromancer Necromancy () is the practice of magic involving communication with the dead – either by summoning their spirit In folk beliefIn folkloristics, folk belief or folk-belief is a broad genre of folklore that is often expressed in narrativ ...
. His ''Phoenix artis memoriae'' (
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, d ...

Venice
, 1491, 4 vols.) went through as many as nine editions, the seventh being published at
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of most populous of (NRW) and the and one of the oldest in Germany. With 3.6 million people in the and 1.1 million inhabitants within its , Cologne is the largest city on the ...

Cologne
in 1608. About the end of the 16th century, Lambert Schenkel (''Gazophylacium'', 1610), who taught mnemonics in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
, Italy and
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
, similarly surprised people with his memory. He was denounced as a
sorcerer Sorcerer may refer to: Magic * Sorcerer (supernatural), a practitioner of magic, the ability to attain objectives or acquire knowledge or wisdom using supernatural means * Sorcerer (fantasy), someone who uses or practices magic that derives from ...
by the University of Louvain, but in 1593 he published his tractate ''De memoria'' at
Douai Douai (, , ; pcd, Doï; nl, Dowaai; formerly spelled Douay and historically Doway in English) is a Communes of France, commune in the Nord (French department), Nord département in northern France. It is a Subprefectures in France, sub-prefectur ...

Douai
with the sanction of that celebrated theological faculty. The most complete account of his system is given in two works by his pupil Martin Sommer, published in
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, d ...

Venice
in 1619. In 1618 John Willis (d. 1628?) published ''Mnemonica; sive ars reminiscendi'', containing a clear statement of the principles of topical or local mnemonics.
Giordano Bruno Giordano Bruno (; ; la, Iordanus Brunus Nolanus; born Filippo Bruno, January or February 1548 – 17 February 1600) was an Italian Dominican friar A friar is a brother and a member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth ...

Giordano Bruno
included a ''memoria technica'' in his treatise ''De umbris idearum,'' as part of his study of the ''ars generalis'' of . Other writers of this period are the
Florentine Florentine most commonly refers to: * a person or thing from Florence, a city in Italy * the Florentine dialect Florentine may also refer to: Places * Florentin, Tel Aviv, a neighborhood in the southern part of Tel Aviv, Israel * Leone, Floren ...

Florentine
Publicius (1482); Johannes Romberch (1533); Hieronimo Morafiot, ''Ars memoriae'' (1602);and B. Porta, ''Ars reminiscendi'' (1602). In 1648 Stanislaus Mink von Wennsshein revealed what he called the "most fertile secret" in mnemonics — using consonants for figures, thus expressing numbers by words (vowels being added as required), in order to create associations more readily remembered. The philosopher
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the " 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ...

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
adopted an alphabet very similar to that of Wennsshein for his scheme of a form of writing common to all languages. Wennsshein's method was adopted with slight changes afterward by the majority of subsequent "original" systems. It was modified and supplemented by
Richard Grey Sir Richard Grey (1457 – 25 June 1483) was an English knight and the half-brother of King Edward V of England. Early life Richard Grey was the younger son of Sir John Grey of Groby and Elizabeth Woodville. Richard was a 3-year-old child w ...
(1694-1771), a priest who published a ''Memoria technica'' in 1730. The principal part of Grey's method is briefly this: (His method is comparable to the Hebrew system by which letters also stand for numerals, and therefore words for dates.) To assist in retaining the mnemonical words in the memory, they were formed into memorial lines. Such strange words in difficult
hexameterHexameter is a metrical line of verses consisting of six feet (a "foot" here is the pulse, or major accent, of words in an English line of poetry; in Greek and Latin a "foot" is not an accent, but describes various combinations of syllables). It wa ...

hexameter
scansion, are by no means easy to memorise. The
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
or
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sig ...
, which Grey connected with a particular figure, was chosen arbitrarily. A later modification was made in 1806 Gregor von Feinaigle, a German
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via ''monachus'') is a person who practices religious by living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life ...

monk
from Salem near
Constance Constance may refer to: Places *Konstanz Konstanz (, , locally: ; also written as Constance in English) is a with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of in the south of . The city houses the and was the residence o ...

Constance
. While living and working in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
, he expounded a system of mnemonics in which (as in Wennsshein) the numerical figures are represented by letters chosen due to some similarity to the figure or an accidental connection with it. This alphabet was supplemented by a complicated system of localities and signs. Feinaigle, who apparently did not publish any written documentation of this method, travelled to
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
in 1811. The following year one of his pupils published ''The New Art of Memory'' (1812), giving Feinaigle's system. In addition, it contains valuable historical material about previous systems. Other
mnemonist The title mnemonist refers to an individual with the ability to remember and recall unusually long lists of data, such as unfamiliar names, lists of numbers, entries in books, etc. The term is derived from the term mnemonic, which refers to a strate ...
s later published simplified forms, as the more complicated menemonics were generally abandoned. Methods founded chiefly on the so-called laws of association (cf. Mental association) were taught with some success in Germany.A simplified form of Feinaigle's method was published by Aimé Paris (''Principes et applications diverses de la mnémonique'', 7th ed., Paris, 1834). The use of symbolic pictures was revived in connection with the latter by Antoni Jaźwińsky of Poland. His system was published by the Polish general J. Bem, under the title ''Exposé général de la méthode mnémonique polonaise, perfectionnée à Paris'' (Paris, 1839). Various other modifications of the systems were advocated by subsequent mnemonists right through the 19th century. More complicated systems were proposed in the 20th century, such as the ''Keesing Memory System'', the ''System of Memory and Mental Training'', and the Pelman memory system.


Types

; 1. Music mnemonics : Songs and jingles can be used as a mnemonic. A common example is how children remember the alphabet by singing the ABCs. ; 2. Name mnemonics (acronym) : The first letter of each word is combined into a new word. For example: VIBGYOR (or ROY G BIV) for the colours of the rainbow or (
Lake Huron Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes File:Location of the Great Lakes in North America.jpg, upright=1.3, Location in North America The Great Lakes, also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, are a ser ...

Lake Huron
,
Lake Ontario Lake Ontario (french: Lac Ontario) is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is surrounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south and east by the U.S. state of New York (state), New Yo ...

Lake Ontario
,
Lake Michigan Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume () and the third-largest by surface area (), after Lake Superior and Lake Huron. To the east, its basin is conjoined with that o ...

Lake Michigan
,
Lake Erie Lake Erie (; french: Lac Érié) is the fourth largest lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowin ...

Lake Erie
,
Lake Superior Lake Superior is the largest and northernmost of the Great Lakes of North America, and among freshwater lakes, it is the world's List of lakes by area, largest by surface area and the List of lakes by volume, third-largest by volume.The Caspian ...

Lake Superior
) the
Great Lakes The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land ...

Great Lakes
. ; 3. Expression or word mnemonics : The first letter of each word is combined to form a phrase or sentence – e.g. " Richard of York gave battle in vain" for the colours of the rainbow. ; 4. Model mnemonics : A model is used to help recall information. Applications of this method involve the use of diagrams, cycles, graphs, and flowcharts to help understand or memorize an idea. e.g. cell cycle, pie charts, pyramid models. ; 5. Ode mnemonics : The information is placed into a poem or
doggerel Doggerel, or doggrel, is poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetics, aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolis ...
, – e.g. "Note socer, gener, liberi, and Liber god of revelry, like puer these retain the 'e'" (most Latin nouns of the second declension ending in -er drop the -e in all of the oblique cases except the vocative, these are the exceptions). ; 6. Note organization mnemonics : The method of note organization can be used as a memorization technique. Applications of this method involve the use of flash cards and lists. Flash cards are used by putting a question or word on one side of a paper and the answer or definition on the other side of the paper. Lists involve the organization of data from broad to detailed. e.g. Earth → Continent → Country. ; 7. Image mnemonics : The information is constructed into a picture – e.g. the German weak declension can be remembered as five '-e's', looking rather like the state of Oklahoma in America, in a sea of '-en's'. ; 8. Connection mnemonics : New
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
is connected to knowledge already known. ; 9. Spelling mnemonics : An example is "''i'' before ''e'' except after ''c'' or when sounding like ''a'' in ''neighbor'' and ''weigh''". ; 10. Visualization mnemonics : Techniques such as the
method of loci The method of loci (''loci'' being Latin for "places") is a strategy of memory enhancement which uses Mental image, visualizations of familiar spatial environments in order to enhance the recall of information. The method of loci is also known a ...
allow the user to create unique associations in an imagined space.


Applications and examples

A wide range of mnemonics are used for several purposes. The most commonly used mnemonics are those for lists, numerical sequences, foreign-language acquisition, and medical treatment for patients with memory deficits.


For lists

A common mnemonic for remembering lists is to create an easily remembered acronym, or, taking each of the initial letters of the list members, create a memorable phrase in which the words with the same acronym as the material. Mnemonic techniques can be applied to most memorisation of novel materials. Some common examples for first-letter mnemonics: * "Memory Needs Every Method Of Nurturing Its Capacity" is a mnemonic for spelling 'mnemonic.' * To memorize the metric prefixes after Giga(byte), think of the candy, and this mnemonic. Tangiest PEZ? Yellow! TPEZY. Tera, Peta, Exa, Zetta, Yotta(byte). * "Maybe Not Every Mnemonic Oozes Nuisance Intensely Concentrated" is perhaps a less common mnemonic for spelling 'mnemonic', but it benefits from being a bit humorous and memorable. * The order of sharps in
key signature In Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, coun ...

key signature
notation is F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯, A♯, E♯ and B♯, giving the mnemonic "Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle". The order of
flats Flat or flats may refer to: Architecture * Flat (housing), an apartment in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and other Commonwealth countries Arts and entertainment * Flat (music), a symbol () which denotes a lower pitch * Flat (soldier), a ...
is the reverse: B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, C♭ and F♭ ("Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father"). * To memorise the colours of the
rainbow A rainbow is a meteorological Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting Weather forecasting is the application of sc ...

rainbow
: In the phrase "
Richard Of York Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York (22 September 141130 December 1460), also named Richard Plantagenet, was a leading English magnate, a great-grandson of King Edward III through his father, and a great-great-great-grandson of the same king t ...

Richard Of York
Gave Battle In Vain" each of the initial letters matches the colours of the rainbow in order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Other examples are "Run over your granny because it's violent" or the imaginary name "Roy G. Biv". * To memorise the North American
Great Lakes The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land ...

Great Lakes
: The acronym HOMES matches the letters of the five lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior) * To memorise colour codes as they are used in
electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical engineering that deals with the emission, behaviour and effects of electrons The electron is a subatomic particle In physical sciences, subatomic particles are smaller than ...
: the phrase "Bill Brown Realised Only Yesterday Good Boys Value Good Work" represents in order the 10 colours and their numerical order: black (0), brown (1), red (2), orange (3), yellow (4), green (5), blue (6), violet or purple (7), grey (8), and white (9). * To memorise the effects, in AC circuits, of the presence of an inductor or a capacitor, the phrase "Eli the Iceman" has been used by electrical engineers. With an inductor present, the peak value of the voltage (E) precedes the peak value of the current (I). With L, the symbol for inductance, this is written ELI ("E leads I, with L"). With a capacitor present, the peak current leads the peak voltage. The symbol for capacitance is C, giving ICE ("I leads E, with C"). * To memorise chemical reactions, such as
redox (mild reducing agent) are added to powdered potassium permanganate Potassium permanganate is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula KMnO4 and composed of potassium ion, K+ and permanganate, . It is a purplish-black crystalline salt, ...

redox
reactions, where it is common to mix up oxidation and reduction, the short phrase "LEO (Lose Electron Oxidation) the lion says GER (Gain Electron Reduction)" or "Oil Rig" can be used, the latter being an acronym for "Oxidation is losing, Reduction is gaining". John "Doc" Walters, who taught chemistry and physics at Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1950s and 1960s, taught his students to use for this purpose the acronym RACOLA: Reduction is Addition of electrons and occurs at the Cathode; Oxidation is Loss of electrons and occurs at the Anode. * To memorise the names of the planets and Pluto, use the planetary mnemonic: "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos" or "My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets" or "My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets"- where each of the initial letters matches the name of the planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, luto. * To memorise the sequence of
stellar classification In astronomy, stellar classification is the classification of stars based on their stellar spectrum, spectral characteristics. Electromagnetic radiation from the star is analyzed by splitting it with a prism or diffraction grating into a spectr ...
: "Oh, Be A Fine Girl r Guy Kiss Me" – where O, B, A, F, G, K, M are categories of stars. * To memorise the layers of the
OSI Model The Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) is a that characterises and standardises the communication functions of a or computing system without regard to its underlying internal structure and technology. Its goal is the interoperabil ...

OSI Model
: "Please Do Not Teach Students Pointless Acronyms" – with each of the initial letters matching the name of the OSI layers from bottom to top (physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation, application). * A taxonomy mnemonic is helpful for memorizing the scientific classification applied in taxonomy, such as Kings Play Chess On Funny Glass Stairs (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species). * To memorise the diatomic elements: (pronounced 'brinkelhoff') or "
Fear Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure ...

Fear
Ice Ice is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known forms of , eve ...

Ice
Cold , a common physiological response to cold, aiming to reduce the loss of body heat in a cold environment File:AntarcticaDomeCSnow.jpg, A photograph of the snow surface at Dome C Station, Antarctica a part of the notoriously cold Polar Platea ...

Cold
Beer Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. Beer is brewing, brewed from cereal, cereal grains—most commonly from malted barley, though wh ...

Beer
." * Opinion, Shape, Colour, Origin, and Material (OPSHACOM): adjectives order in English grammar. * "Dash In A Real Rush! Hurry, Or Else Accident!" is a mnemonic for spelling 'diarrhoea". * To memorize the part of the brain associated with memory, Herds of Animals Cause Panic. Hippocampus, Amygdala, Cerebellum, & Prefrontal Cortex. *To memorize the 3 types of encoding: SAVE (Semantic encoding, Acoustic encoding, Visual encoding)


For numerical sequences and mathematical operations

Mnemonic phrases or poems can be used to encode numeric sequences by various methods, one common one is to create a new phrase in which the number of letters in each word represents the according digit of pi. For example, the first 15 digits of the mathematical constant (3.14159265358979) can be encoded as "Now I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics"; "Now", having 3 letters, represents the first number, 3.
Piphilology Piphilology comprises the creation and use of mnemonic A mnemonic () device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory Memory is the faculty of the brain A ...
is the practice dedicated to creating mnemonics for pi. Another is used for "calculating" the multiples of 9 up to 9 × 10 using one's fingers. Begin by holding out both hands with all fingers stretched out. Now count left to right the number of fingers that indicates the multiple. For example, to figure 9 × 4, count four fingers from the left, ending at your left-hand index finger. Bend this finger down and count the remaining fingers. Fingers to the left of the bent finger represent tens, fingers to the right are ones. There are three fingers to the left and six to the right, which indicates 9 × 4 = 36. This works for 9 × 1 up through 9 × 10. For remembering the rules in adding and multiplying two signed numbers, Balbuena and Buayan (2015) made the letter strategies LAUS (like signs, add; unlike signs, subtract) and LPUN (like signs, positive; unlike signs, negative), respectively.


For foreign-language acquisition

Mnemonics may be helpful in learning foreign languages, for example by transposing difficult foreign words with words in a language the learner knows already, also called "cognates" which are very common in the Spanish language. A useful such technique is to find linkwords, words that have the same pronunciation in a known language as the target word, and associate them visually or auditorially with the target word. For example, in trying to assist the learner to remember ''ohel'' (), the Hebrew language, Hebrew word for ''tent'', the linguist Ghil'ad Zuckermann proposes the memorable sentence "''Oh hell'', there's a raccoon in my ''tent''". The memorable sentence "There's a ''fork'' in ''Ma's leg''" helps the learner remember that the Hebrew word for ''fork'' is ''mazleg'' (). Similarly, to remember the Hebrew word ''bayit'' (), meaning ''house'', one can use the sentence "that's a lovely ''house'', I'd like to ''buy it''." The linguist Michel Thomas taught students to remember that ''estar'' is the Spanish word for ''to be'' by using the phrase "to be a star". Another Spanish example is by using the mnemonic "Vin Diesel Has Ten Weapons" to teach irregular command verbs in the you(tú) form. Spanish verb forms and tenses are regularly seen as the hardest part of learning the language. With a high number of verb tenses, and many verb forms that are not found in English, Spanish verbs can be hard to remember and then conjugate. The use of mnemonics has been proven to help students better learn foreign languages, and this holds true for Spanish verbs. A particularly hard verb tense to remember is command verbs. Command verbs in Spanish are conjugated differently depending on who the command is being given to. The phrase, when pronounced with a Spanish accent, is used to remember "Ven Di Sal Haz Ten Ve Pon Sé", all of the irregular Spanish command verbs in the you(tú) form. This mnemonic helps students attempting to memorize different verb tenses. Another technique is for learners of Grammatical gender, gendered languages to associate their mental images of words with a colour that matches the gender in the target language. An example here is to remember the Spanish word for "foot," ''pie,'' [pee-ay] with the image of a foot stepping on a pie, which then spills blue filling (blue representing the male gender of the noun in this example). For French verbs which use être as a participle: DR and MRS VANDERTRAMPP: descendre, rester, monter, revenir, sortir, venir, arriver, naître, devenir, entrer, rentrer, tomber, retourner, aller, mourir, partir, passer. Masculine countries in French (le): "Neither can a breeze make a sane Japanese chilly in the USA." (les) Netherlands (Pays-Bas), Canada, Brazil (Brésil), Mexico (Mexique), Senegal, Japan (Japon), Chile (Chili), & (les) USA (États-Unis d'Amérique).


For patients with memory deficits

Mnemonics can be used in aiding patients with memory deficits that could be caused by head injuries, strokes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. In a study conducted by Doornhein and De Haan, the patients were treated with six different memory strategies including the mnemonics technique. The results concluded that there were significant improvements on the immediate and delayed subtest of the RBMT, delayed recall on the Appointments test, and relatives rating on the MAC from the patients that received mnemonics treatment. However, in the case of stroke patients, the results did not reach statistical significance.


Effectiveness

Academic study of the use of mnemonics has shown their effectiveness. In one such experiment, subjects of different ages who applied mnemonic techniques to learn novel vocabulary outperformed control groups that applied contextual learning and free-learning styles. Mnemonics were seen to be more effective for groups of people who struggled with or had weak
long-term memory Long-term memory (LTM) is the stage of the Atkinson–Shiffrin memory model The Atkinson–Shiffrin model (also known as the multi-store model or modal model) is a model of memory proposed in 1968 by Richard C. Atkinson, Richard Atkinson and Ric ...
, like the elderly. Five years after a mnemonic training study, a research team followed-up 112 community-dwelling older adults, 60 years of age and over. Delayed recall of a word list was assessed prior to, and immediately following mnemonic training, and at the 5-year follow-up. Overall, there was no significant difference between word recall prior to training and that exhibited at follow-up. However, pre-training performance gains scores in performance immediately post-training and use of the mnemonic predicted performance at follow-up. Individuals who self-reported using the mnemonic exhibited the highest performance overall, with scores significantly higher than at pre-training. The findings suggest that mnemonic training has long-term benefits for some older adults, particularly those who continue to employ the mnemonic. This contrasts with a study from surveys of medical students that approximately only 20% frequently used mnemonic acronyms. In humans, the process of aging particularly affects the medial temporal lobe and hippocampus, in which the episodic memory is synthesized. The episodic memory stores information about items, objects, or features with spatiotemporal contexts. Since mnemonics aid better in remembering spatial or physical information rather than more abstract forms, its effect may vary according to a subject's age and how well the subject's medial temporal lobe and hippocampus function. This could be further explained by one recent study which indicates a general deficit in the memory for spatial locations in aged adults (mean age 69.7 with standard deviation of 7.4 years) compared to young adults (mean age 21.7 with standard deviation of 4.2 years). At first, the difference in target recognition was not significant. The researchers then divided the aged adults into two groups, aged unimpaired and aged impaired, according to a neuropsychological testing. With the aged groups split, there was an apparent deficit in target recognition in aged impaired adults compared to both young adults and aged unimpaired adults. This further supports the varying effectiveness of mnemonics in different age groups. Moreover, different research was done previously with the same notion, which presented with similar results to that of Reagh et al. in a verbal mnemonics discrimination task. Studies (notably "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two") have suggested that the short-term memory of adult humans can hold only a limited number of items; grouping items into larger chunks such as in a mnemonic might be part of what permits the retention of a larger total amount of information in short-term memory, which in turn can aid in the creation of long-term memories.


See also

* List of mnemonics * List of visual mnemonics * Earworm * Memory sport * Method of loci * Mnemonic dominic system * Mnemonic goroawase system * Mnemonic link system * Mnemonic major system * Mnemonic peg system * Assembly language#Opcode mnemonics and extended mnemonics, Mnemonics in assembler programming languages * Mnemonic effect (advertising)


References


External links

{{Authority control Mnemonics, Educational psychology Memory processes Learning methods Cognitive training