How to teach exams, memorize information at work or keep the desired phone numbers in memory? How to remember everything: pictures, images, words or meaningless combinations of letters?
All psychology textbooks include the story of Solomon Shereshevsky - a man with phenomenal abilities. The Soviet psychologist A. R. Luria was fortunate enough to study his memory for over three decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s. S. Shereshevsky, or Sh., As AR Luria called him in his books, could remember as much as he liked. The amount of his memory was not measurable. Any information: pictures, images, words or meaningless combinations of letters - he recalled as if reading from a book. In addition, it turned out that what was memorized was never erased from his memory. He could easily recall the words dictated to him during experiments 10 or 15 years ago.
Since Shereshevsky's memory could not be measured, Luria tried to describe her work, the mechanisms of memorizing and reproducing information.
He found out the following.
1. To memorize information, Shereshevsky encoded it into images. For example, the number 1 was transformed by him into a proud, dignified person; 6 - in a person whose leg is swollen; 8 - into a fat woman, etc. His ability to encode information into images was innate. Shereshevsky well remembered what he saw and heard from the first months of his life, while usually people do not remember themselves in infancy.
2. Shereshevsky had pronounced synesthesia - a "plexus" of feelings. Synesthetics can clearly distinguish the colors of letters, sense the roughness of sounds, or taste a form. In Shereshevsky's synesthetic perception, all senses were connected, except for smell. The images created by four out of five senses turned out to be very bright and durable.
3. To memorize the order of numbers or objects in a long list, Shereshevsky mentally walked along the street of his hometown and placed along it the images he had created. Sometimes he "lost" items from the list. This happened, for example, when the mental image was in a poorly lit place or blended with the background. In other cases, Shereshevsky imagined the adventures of his images, which developed into unusual and therefore memorable stories.
The peculiarities of Shereshevsky's memory, described by Luria, are used in modern mnemonics.