How the Link Method Works
The Link Method of memory overcomes both the drawbacks of our usual rote method of memorization. We can use it to quickly and easily remember even unrelated objects or concepts through conscious association of item in the list. The Link method also enables us to retain the information for as long as we like, with little or no revision at all! Although memory systems using the conscious way of association have been in vogue for long, they were first systemized and put on paper by a German memory expert in the year 1648. Later, in 1730, it was revised by Richard Grey of England and made a more scientific and accurate system.
You may think how is this possible? But it is both easy and possible for thousands of people around the world have used it to remember things far better and longer.
Remember, earlier we talked about conscious association in the Link Method of Memory? It will be clear in a moment. Suppose I told you that I went to the local store on a bicycle. Would you be even mildly surprised? Or give it a second thought? Of course not, because it is a mundane task. But, suppose I told you that I went to the supermarket on a flying broomstick would you be surprised and confused? Yes, I think so, because it is a ridiculous, extra ordinary thing to be even considered.
Why it Works
Here is the secret of conscious association in the Link Method. If you consciously associate two objects in your mind, like a dish and a fork on the dining table, then you are not likely to remember it at all. Because it is too normal, logical, and obvious. It does not strike a chord in our mind. However, if you use a ridiculous, extra ordinary, illogical association in your imagination, like a huge dish chewing up many forks then you are far more likely to remember it.
The Link method uses our imagination to a great extent for making memorizing to be a fun and easy process. Use your imagination to link the first item to the second, second item to third and so on until you have reached the end of the list. Always imagine vivid, totally illogical, humorous pictures in your mind, linking the first item to the second one, second to third and likewise. There are few guidelines on how to do so successfully:
1. Imagine the objects in your picture to be huge, gigantic out of proportions. As if you are seeing everything right in front of you. Suppose a postage stamp and lighter is included in your list then imagine a gigantic stamp kicking out a huge cigarette lighter.
2. The objects or figures in you mental image should be in action. Like singing, dancing, fighting, swimming, skipping or running vigorously. Suppose there is a watch and car keys in your list, then you may imagine car keys chasing a huffing and puffing wristwatch.
3. Form your mental images very vividly, as if happening in real life, in color. Grossly exaggerate the amount of items present in the mental image. Suppose there are two items, like a pencil and drilling machine one after another, then you may imagine millions of pencils flying away and drilling machines riding on them.
4. Use substitution of one item with another. If a dish and TV set are included in your list then imagine that you are watching a gigantic dish showing TV programs and you are eating from a TV set while having dinner. Do not get stuck while trying to imagine these funny images. Form an image in your image in your mind in a second or two at first and then after some practice do it in a second's time. Usually, the first funny and illogical image, which comes to mind about the two items, is the best one to utilize.
I hope these above guidelines will help you in utilizing the Link method of Memory. As in so many things in life, this will take some practice but once mastered it will stay with you lifelong and you will not even consider the old method of memorizing. Try it and you will be greatly surprised and feel rewarded.
Now go back to the list at the beginning of this article and try the same memory test using the Link Method within the same time frame. You will be surprised with the results if you do it correctly. Form lists of your own from everyday items and then practice the link method. Also, use it extensively for studying. Remember, the Link method of memory makes it almost like a game, fun activity to remember lists, new words, concepts. Children, in particular, are gifted with active, vivid imagination and tend to master the Link Method of Memory much faster and better than adults.