What is a Mnemonic Device?

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What is a Mnemonic Device?
Mnemonic devices are tools used to memorize ideas or facts. These tools are especially helpful for students and working people who may need to improve or enhance their memory.

The most common and most familiar mnemonic device or tool is “Alliteration or Rhyming”. In this technique, a short rhyme is used to help in memorization. Another type uses “Acronym” wherein the words to be memorized are substituted with different but familiar words using the original first letter. For example, when someone is asked to name the planets in the solar system in order from first to last, one can simply memorize the phrase “My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas”. The first letters of the said phrase represent the first letters of the actual planet names: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

Another technique is “Grouping”. In this method, items to be memorized are divided into groups for easier recollection. Like when someone is tasked to enumerate the 50 U.S. states, it may be easier for some to name the states according to location. Categories may be Western States, Mountain States, Central States, and Eastern States. For somebody familiar with maps, grouping states in this manner may be an easier task than naming them randomly or alphabetically.

“Pictures” can also be used in memory tasks. This method involves some form of association between the item for memorization and a particular picture. One just needs to be really imaginative to associate a picture for a specific item.

There are many other techniques to aid memory. But these techniques are not only employed to memorize facts in school or at work. It may also help some people identify faces for particular names. It could also come in handy for those who travel to different countries where street names are unfamiliar.

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