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Healthy Living

A Memory Champ's Trick For Remembering Almost Anything

No flashcards required.

Can you remember what you had for dinner on Monday? Journalist and writer Joshua Foer, a former USA Memory Champion, can remember lists of hundreds of random words, poems in their entirety, and the first 100 digits of Pi.

You might think his spooky ability is inherent, but Foer says your brain is also capable of logging this volume of info using something called the "major system." By converting numbers into letters and letters into words, Foer concocts images in his "memory palace" to store long pieces of information. Then he tells himself the story of all of the images (which are numbers, remember?). Specific images -- which in Foer's case include shwarma and the volleyball from the movie "Cast Away" -- help keep the bits of information distinct.

This might sound a bit confusing, but the data wizard makes his technique a little easier to understand in the Wired video above. If you can't imagine trying this memory method yourself, at least it's interesting to see the inner workings of a sharp brain, right?

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