When I was a kid I had trouble remembering dates. I’d successfully keep them in short-term memory long enough to get through an exam, but they were retained rarely longer than the time it took to set the pencil down once the test was complete. Sadly, it took until I was in my first year at college before I came to the conclusion that there may be some merit in actually retaining the information needed to pass the tests I took. My search for solutions led me to the concept of Mnemonics.
Most people have a basic understanding of what Mnemonics are. When I was six years old I learned the order and colors of the rainbow by remembering the name Roy G. Biv, where each letter represented a color. In music class we learn Every Good Boy Does Fine and FACE for the lines and spaces on the treble clef. In both cases we have a simple phrase that represents information that might otherwise be difficult to recall.
Mnemonics can go far beyond these simple examples however, and there are systems covering everything from learning a new language, to remembering people’s names, to memorizing Pi. Mnemonics make learning and recalling dates, faces, events and facts much easier than more conventional methods of rote learning through repetition.
This is why we built iCue Memory. iCue Memory for the iPhone offers three games where you can practice and perfect the skills required to remember playing cards, long strings of numbers, mathematical constants like Pi, Phi, e, and Gamma, and strings of binary digits.
Unless you already have an understanding of Mnemonic Systems, you may be surprised how easy it is to memorize the order of playing cards in an entire deck as quickly as they can be dealt, or phone numbers the moment they’re voiced.
Numbers, for example, by their very nature are abstract, and most people have trouble remembering them. This is easy to understand, because we tend to remember things we care about, and most people don’t care much about numbers. Number’s are also hard to visualize. It’s difficult to hold a picture of a phone number, a credit card number, or a historical date in your mind. Fortunately, through the use of Mnemonics, we don’t have to.
There are many systems available for encoding different types of information. Most people consider a system known as the Major System (also called Phonetic System or Phonetic Mnemonic System) to be one of the most powerful. It’s the system I prefer for remembering ordered lists, numbers, dates and other similar information. A slightly modified form of the Major System can also be used to remember the order of a deck (or more) of playing cards, or binary digits.
The Major System is described, along with specific techniques that can be used to master the iCue Speed Cards and Binary Digits games, at icue-memory.com - but the basic concept is that it works by transforming numbers into words and phrases. The words can be remembered more easily, especially when using other techniques such as exaggerations of concepts involving multiple senses (vision, sound, smell).
Each numeral, 0-9 is mapped onto a number of consonants. Vowels and the consonants W/H/Y are ignored and can be used as ‘fillers’ to make up sensible words from the resulting consonant sequences. The mapping is phonetic, so it’s the sounds that matter, not the spelling.
Just like muscular strength, the ability to remember increases when exercised. We developed iCue as a mental gymnasium where you can work-out your memory and hone your recall skills.
You can even compare your abilities with others from around the world using our Global Scores system.