Mnemonic link system  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A mnemonic link system is a method of remembering lists, based on creating an association between the elements of that list. For example, if one wished to remember the list (dog, envelope, thirteen, yarn, window), one could create a link system, such as a story about a "dog stuck in an envelope, mailed to an unlucky black cat playing with yarn by the window". It is then argued that the story would be easier to remember than the list itself.

A probably more effective method rather than creating a story is to actually link each element of the list with the following, seeing in one's mind's eye a ridiculous, absurd or just shocking image that includes two elements in the list that are next to each other. For example, if we wanted to easily memorize the last list one would imagine his or her dog inside of a giant envelope, then one would "see" an unlucky black cat (or whatever that reminds the user 'thirteen') eating a huge envelope. The same logic should be used with the rest of the items. This observation, that absurd images are easier to remember, is known as the Von Restorff effect. By combining this method with others, like the Peg system and the Major system (which is used to retain numbers), we can easily get what some people call a trained memory.

However, in order to access a certain element of the list, one needs to "traverse" the system (much in the same vein as a linked list), in order to get the element from the system.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mnemonic link system" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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