Learning Tools: Associations

Associations and RecallPlus

· RecallPlus is all about connecting ideas together visually.
· You may add your own drawings and images quickly and easily.
· RecallPlus is all about making visual connections between information.

Associations are a basic unit of human memory.

Associations are links between pieces of information. For example, you might try to associate an English word with a Japanese word.

Creating these links or associations between pieces of information is the key to amazing memory. Almost all memory techniques are aimed at making these links as strong and numerous as possible.

Make connections between the things you know and the things you are learning. The more connections you have going to a particular thing in your memory, the more likely you are to be able to retrieve it.

Please note: it is best to associate things that are physically viewable and concrete in nature rather than conceptual things like 'goodness'.

What are some of the techniques for improving my Associations?

Pegging or Loci System

Pegging, another way of learning lists, is the process of linking individual items to be memorised with a set of items that you are already familiar with (and therefore don't have to memorise).
The loci system is the method of pegging where one remembers a place and associates things in that place with things to be recalled, e.g. (1) Roman senators knew what plants and furniture was in their garden. (2) The senator has to learn a speech. (3) He therefore puts different parts of his speech papers at different locations in the garden.
Subsequently, when giving the speech the senator remembers his next heading by mentally walk over to the item in his garden to see what paper he left there.


If you are trying to learn the list of towns along the trans-Siberian railway, chaining is one way to do it. That is, you could make it that each town in your mind remind you of the next one.
Chaining allows you to make 1-1 connections in your head, which are typically quite strong.
There are any number of ways you can make one town remind you of the next, e.g. what do they have in common or in what way do they contrast?


An acronym is a method of pegging where one links a list to a word and each letter in the word reminds you of a member of a list, e.g. SLSC = surf life saving club.

Rather than using a word one could also use a sentence or sentences, e.g. Dry as a bone, Red as a beet, Blind as a bat, etc. is a well known medical way of remembering the side effects of a specific type of drugs toxicity where the symptoms include being Dry and Red Skinned, etc.

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