How to use the Alphabet Technique to improve your memory

In Mind Games on June 14, 2006 at 10:39 am

The Alphabet Technique is a peg memory system which works by associating letters of the alphabet with images you create for things you need to remember.

Firstly, you should create an “Image Scheme” which associates letters of the alphabet with images. It is best to ensure that the first syllable of the word for the image is phonetically similar to the alphabet letter it represents. For example:

“Cake” represents the letter “K”.

The following is an example of an image scheme you could use:

A Ace of Spades
B Bee
C See-saw
D Demon
E Eel
F Effigy
G Jeans
H Hitch-hiker
I Eye
J Jade
K Cake
L Elephant
M Emblem
N Energy
O Opal
P Pea
Q Queue
R Ark
S Eskimo
T Teapot
U Unicorn
V Vehicle
X X-ray
Y Wire
Z Zebra

If these images don’t work well for you, you should change them to something you remember more easily (ideally, the first image which springs to mind).

Once you have firmly visualised these images and have linked them to their root letters, you can associate them with information to be remembered.

Let’s imagine that you need to remember a list of characters from the Yu-Gi-Oh tv series:

A-Ace (Kaiba) An Ace printed on a KIte being flown outside a BAR
B-Bee (Joey) A Bee stinging a baby kangaroo (joey)
C-See-saw (Mai) A giant MIte poised on the seat of a See-Saw
D-Demon (Yu-Gi) A demon eating YoGhurt.

And so on…

In conclusion, The Alphabet Technique links the items to be remembered with images of the letters A – Z. This allows you to remember a medium length list in the correct order. By pegging the items to be remembered to letters of the alphabet you know if you have forgotten items, and know the cues to use to trigger their recall.


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