The Mind Palace

by Kira Placido

Quick Interest

As a bored teen, I began watching a show called Sherlock, which was gaining popularity at an alarming rate. A couple episodes into the series, the main character, Sherlock Holmes, uses a technique he calls his "Mind Palace." I found this to be an amazing ability that seemed almost superhuman, so I did some browsing on the internet to figure out its cause. What I found astounded me. I discovered that this crazy trick wasn't supernatural at all. This technique can be used by anyone and anywhere, and it's one of the oldest devices for remembering any piece of information. This research helped me to grasp that good memory, which I believed that I did not have, was easily in reach. Delving into research in the future will help me to excel in school and in life. Research would help others in similar ways, possibly helping those with Alzheimer's remember things for a longer period of time.

A Study in Scarlet (What the Memory Palace is)

The concept of the Memory Palace (also known as the Method of Loci) had been around since the Roman Empire. A man named Simonides of Ceos was a poet and entertainer and the sole survivor of a building collapse. He was able to identify the unrecognizable bodies by the place they were sitting in the room. Simonides realized then that attaching things that he needed to remember with images of places he was familiar with would help him to recall those ideas easier. This was a popular method until the fifteenth century when mnemonics such as word play and cheesy phrases were introduced. The Mind Palace uses your mind's ability to hold onto to visual memories to its advantage.

Sign of the Four (The Brain)

When your brain is trying to store memories, it goes through an encoding process through parts of the brain such as the hippocampus. But when the Mind Palace is in use, the parts of the brain in use are those involved in spacial recognition and navigation.

Hounds of Baskerville (Research and Scientists)

One of the few prominent studies done on the Mind Palace is one by Eric Legge and this colleagues with the University of Alberta. A few other inquires have been made by the University of London and a Canadian university, but the foremost important figure of this technique is Simonides of Ceos.
Sherlock's Doomsday: Mind Palace (HLV)
*Please note that this video has been slightly altered from its original airing version

Valley of Fear (Cool Facts)

  • The memory palace has been around since
  • The spacial memory is is stronger than the average memory system
  • The term "loci" in the "Method of Loci" is the plural form of the Latin word for "place"
  • Tournaments of memory are held every year and a popular system of memory used in this tournament of seemingly above-average people is the Memory Palace

Scholarly Articles: