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Sunday, 19 August 2012

A Memory-based Party Trick!

This party trick was originally written up in an early edition of my monthly newsletter for teachers of special needs children - Special Needs Information Press. SNIP was delivered to 500+ subscribing schools by the time I handed it over to a team of teachers after about six years of publication.

The 'trick' rarely fails to impress anyone who doesn't know how it's done. I featured it because it was a useful aid to improving auditory memory and is great fun, too. It is included in this blog as part of my 'psychology' strand. 

You need one person from your audience to be ready with pencil and paper. Here's how it works.

1  Your opening gambit: I'm going to ask you to make a list of ten common objects. After
    you have told me the objects just once, I shall be able to remember them straight
    away, in any order, from their number alone.

2  The set-up: On paper, the chosen person writes the numbers one to ten in a column,
    and beside each they write the name of a common object. Typically they might 
    choose things like pen, chair, cat. Then you recite the numbers one at a time, and
    after each number the person tells you the object. At this point, people don't believe
    you can do it.
by Esme Vos
3  The trick: This is done by auditory memory and visual association, and you need to 
    learn the basic code of associations. This is:
           one-bun    two-shoe    three-tree    four-door    five-hive (beehive)
           six-sticks    seven-heaven    eight-gate    nine-line (washing line)    ten-hen.
    As the objects are named, you make a visual association in your mind, preferably a
    nonsensical and action-based link. For example,
           1  Table - one-bun, visualise a table which is rocky because one of the legs is
                 resting on a squashed currant bun.
           2  Wheelbarrow - two-shoe, a wheelbarrow trundling along filled with shoes.
           4  Pig - four-door, opening a door and a herd of pigs rushing out towards you.
           5  Spoon - five-hive, lifting the lid of the hive and scooping out the honey with
                 a spoon.
     And so on until all ten have been (rapidly) memorised.
by artethgray
4   The show: Now you simply invite the person to say any of the numbers, and your
     visual picture should prompt you straight away. Easy!

This is a very quick process once you get the hang of it. The associations may not last longer than the rest of the day, but that won't matter. As the old Ellison's joke catalogues used to promise, 'Amaze your friends with this very simple trick'!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, Jacqueline. One trick I will definitely have to attempt to use on my son! And, of course, afterwards I'll let him know how it's done...maybe!