By Peter Yang '17PHA
U.S. Memory Champion Joshua Foer spoke to an audience of
students from the Honors Program and the general University
community on October 4th, in the Little Theater. He
immediately engaged their attention by asking them to picture
Britney Spears dancing on their living room coffee table. This was
what Foer called "building a memory palace," which is process of
associating a familiar place with an event or object.
Foer then asked the audience for a series of objects totally
disconnected and a series of known features in the Little Theater
with which to connect them. He described this memory technique as
the use of "associative hooks," whereby one tries to attach or
"hook" an object with something meaningful. Surprisingly, everyone
he asked in the audience remembered every object in the proper
Foer, a science writer for the New York Times, can
memorize the order of a pack of playing cards in less than 30
seconds, though he insisted that this was no spectacular feat.
Another memory expert, Kim Peak, has memorized the contents of
9,000 books. Foer explained that this skill dates back to Ancient
Foer is the author of the New York Times bestseller
Moonwalking with Einstein, a book which illustrates this
and other practical memory aids.