Childhood Home

A typical memory palace.
The place where you grew up - picture it in your mind's eye.  Take a tour, virtually, in your mind, like you are getting home from another day at school.  Picture the entrance, look around.  Take in the details: the carpet on the stairs, the coats hanging on the hooks, the color of the laundry-room door, the shape and texture of the tiles in the hall.  Feel the floor under your feet, the smoothness, the roughness, the pattern, the texture. Make it feel like reality, because this is your first memory palace.

"Uh, what?" Says your homunculus.  "What is this palatial memory-thingy you speak of?"  Fair enough, it may seem like an unusual connections to make between our childhood home and the art of improving our memory, but, hopefully, the link will soon become clear.

It's a memory trick that has been around for centuries, also known as the Method of Loci.  Our brains have evolved to easily memorize complex sensory information, particularly visual and spatial information.  When objects are placed in physical locations, our brains have an uncanny knack for remembering exactly where they are - a critical skill for hunter-gatherer-hoarder-protohumans that need to remember where that mulberry bush is.

This week, we're going to exploit this feature of the human mind by imagining various objects, people, and events in our childhood home so that we can remember them.  Why do we want to memorize these things, you might ask? Well, to prove that we can!  Then, when we really need to remember something, it'll be a breeze.  So, before we get to the real fun, we must prepare a suitable memory palace.

Childhood Home

Task: Imagine a walking tour of your childhood home.

Info: As you go on your virtual tour, try to virtually experience as many details as you possibly can.  Your goal is to create as vivid and realistic picture of your home as possible.  All of these details will be critical for tomorrow's Daily Mind Game, when we will be trying to memorize a short list of random stuff.  The more details the better, so really go to town!  Be sure to incorporate smells, sounds, etc.  The more details, the more connections your brain will be able to exploit during future memory challenges.

Goal: Create a vivid picture of your childhood home incorporating all five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch.

Still mystified about the purpose of this exercise? Check in again tomorrow for the next Daily Mind Game, to learn more!

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