The "nook and cranny" method

This is a method for expanding the capacity of a MemoryPalace tenfold without adding extra rooms. It seems to have been developed by Scott_Hagwood?, the first Grandmaster of Memory from the US. He used it to play the longest game of Simon on record: 31 sequences of light and sound. (The previous record was 14 sequences.)

Hagwood's method is described in the article "Simon Made Simple" by John Grossmann, in the July 2004 Games magazine, page 4:

To handle Simon's vexing array of yellow, red, blue, and green flashes, Hagwood employs what's called the "RomanRoom method," using familiar objects in the rooms of his house to help him remember Simon's pulsing patterns. "Counting walls, corners, floor, and ceiling, every room has 10 places I can 'put' stuff," he says. For example, if Simon initially flashes yellow, he might think of the sun, and starting in the corner to the left of the door to his den, imagine the sun melting the stereo speaker that sits there. If the next color is green, he pictures green balls bouncing (again, imagining movement helps) on the TV screen on the wall to his left. When he has used all the objects in the den, Hagwood moves to the living room, hanging more colors on easily retrievable mental hooks.

Here is a reconstruction of Hagwood's system based solely on the information in this paragraph. All places in the room are relative to the door through which you enter into the room, whether it is a real door or a notional one. A corner is defined as the intersection of two walls, not two walls and the ceiling or floor; it is a line segment, not a point. Thus, there are four corners in a room, not eight.

1. near left corner
2. left wall
3. far left corner
4. far wall
5. far right corner
6. right wall
7. near right corner
8. near wall
9. floor
10. ceiling

In short, to get ten more places out of each room, mentally traverse the room, starting in the near left corner and "touching" every wall and corner until you return to the wall through which you "entered" the room, then count the floor and ceiling as two more places.

Evidently Hagwood uses the objects in the places in his house as pegs rather than the places themselves. This makes good sense (LinkQuickly).

Discussion

I was thinking about something similar to this.

I was pegging some ideas, and one of them had the key image of a star.

I linked Noah (#2 in a PegList) to Star. I did this by imagining Noah drawing a mystic glowing star on the floor of the cabin of the Ark.

Later, I realized I wanted to attach some ideas to the idea represented by the star. Their symbols were: Instant Messages, Televisions, and Blogs.

Normally, I would have pegged these at the end of my peg list (7, 8, and 9 at the time), but I decided to try and apply the NookAndCrannyMethod, somehow.

I eventually did it like so:

I expanded the star out to the far North, East, South, and West. North was the story where the Ark goes to the North Pole, and saw Santa Claus. East was China and Chinese civilization. West was cowboys. South was Penguins.

It takes no effort to remember those cardinal directions.

To remember "Blogs," I attached them to North. Santa had a blog, and was blogging with a bunch of other bloggers.

To remember "TV," I attached them to the East. In this case, Noah was dropping off a bunch of televisions at the Chinese docks.

To remember "Instant Messages," I imagined a bunch of cowboys and indians sending instant messages to each other.

It worked perfectly. :)

I'd be interested in other techniques for finding "nooks and crannies" in shapes. Ron thought that using occult symbols would be good.

I know I have a mental image of a map for Air on top, Water on the right, Earth on the bottom, and Fire on the left. These could probably be combined to grant spatial relationships to memories as well.

The interesting threads, it seems to me, are:

• Reusing commonly known maps- Earth,Air,Water,Fire. North,East,South,West.
• Combining symbols- Combining two symbols to make a new "index." Noah+China+TV=Star-thought, sub-index number 2 (East), is "Television."
• Embedding symbols- The NookAndCrannyMethod has a clear "subset" relationship. The things in the room are particulars of the room. Or perhaps it's more like a graph than a tree- when we think of the given object, we always think of the room. But if we thought of, say, "Pencil," something that's in many rooms, it might now work, though we may imagine a pencil in a ballroom vs. a pencil in a closet. (Would the closet-ness or the ballroom-ness stick, if we linked primarily with the pencil in the room?)
• Standard resolution- Noah is always the same Noah in my mind. "Law" (peg #5) is always the same police officer, next to me in the car. Santa is always to the North, Penguins always in the South. It's this standard mental resolution, that's important. This is valuable for PegList``s too, which rely on standard resolutions. This is related to systemization.

-- LionKimbro [[DateTime?(2004-05-27T19:56:28Z)]]