"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."

-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
3 Two cheers for mnemonic techniques5 Two cheers for mnemonic techniquesTwo cheers for mnemonic techniquesHow can we develop transformative tools for thought?2020-10-18JournalA second caution relates to elaborative encoding. The mnemonic techniques are, as you have likely realized, an example of elaborative encoding in action, connecting the things we want to memorize (say, our shopping list) to something which already has meaning for us (say, our memory palace). By contrast, when an expert learns new information in their field, they don't make up artificial connections to their memory palace. Instead, they find meaningful connections to what they already know. Those connections are themselves useful expertise; they're building out a dense network of understanding. It's a deeper and more desirable kind of expertise, connections native to the subject itself, not artificially constructed mnemonics. Continue reading…