The word loci is the plural form of locus, which means place. The loci strategy is based on your familiarity with a place, such as your home. The strategy helps you remember lists of items through organization, visualization, and association. It can work well for you if you are good at visualizing (picturing) things in your mind.
Here are the steps in the loci strategy along with an example. In this example, one of the items you must remember is “nature.”
First, identify a place with which you are very familiar. In this example, you decide to use the kitchen where you live as the place.
Second, visualize that place and its features in your mind. In this example, one of the features you visualize is a coffeepot on the kitchen stove.
Third, associate each item to be remembered with a particular feature of that place. In this example, to remember “nature,” you visualize a plant growing out of the coffeepot. The more unusual your association, the more likely you are to remember it.
Fourth, visualize each feature of the place and the association you formed for an item to be remembered. In this example, by visualizing the coffeepot with a plant growing out of it, you will remember the item “nature.”
To complete this example, here are the other items you must remember: pigeon, somersault, invasion, lemon, and puddle.
Here are the associations with features of the kitchen you could visualize to help you remember the items:
- pigeon – visualize a pigeon landing on the table.
- somersault – visualize a clown somersaulting over a chair.
- invasion – visualize ants invading and swarming all over a slice of bread on the kitchen counter.
- lemon – visualize lemons floating in a pitcher of lemonade in the kitchen refrigerator.
- puddle – visualize the kitchen sink overflowing and forming a puddle of soapy water on the floor.
To remember the entire list of items, visualize each kitchen feature and the association you created for it.
The loci strategy was invented by the ancient Greeks. It remains just as useful today as it was long ago.