At this point, you may be somewhat skeptical at this new memorization scheme that I am proposing to you. You may be asking, "Are you telling me that every time I need to memorize something important, I'm supposed to invent some clever or silly association between pieces of information?" The answer is, yes! It is a time-proven method that works, and it is consistent with what psychologists have discovered about the human memory. We know that memory works best by association, and we are simply taking advantage of that property to help us remember things more easily.
Here are some other properties of memory:
Law of Recency:
We are more likely to remember things that happened recently than those that happened a long time ago. You can probably remember what you had for dinner yesterday, but not what you ate for dinner two weeks ago today.
Law of Vividness:
We tend to remember the most spectacular or striking impressions rather than those that are more ordinary. You can probably remember what you did on your last birthday, or perhaps the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, but not what happened on the previous day of those occasions (unless, that too, was a "special" occasion).
Law of Frequency:
We tend to remember things we experience the most often, rather than those we experience only once in a while. You are much more likely to remember your name or your phone number than the square root of 3 (unless you are a mathematician).
We can take advantage of these laws, too. For example, we all know that if we repeat a word or phrase 20 times, we can remember it more easily.
What about the "Law of vividness?" Well, suppose we wanted to memorize the pair of words "trowel" and "cake". We might think of our using a trowel to pick up part of a cake-like chunk of cement. Or what about this: a little girl walks up to a table which you are seated at, carrying a trowel. Smiling, she lifts it up and shoves it right into your beautiful birthday cake! Which of these two associations is easier to remember? Surely, the second one, because it's much more vivid. This is why, when we try to invent associations, the rule is: "the sillier, the better!"