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Mnemonic Peg System

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A peg system is a technique for memorizing lists. It works by pre-memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent (1 to 10, 1-100, 1-1000, etc.). Those objects form the "pegs" of the system.

To rapidly memorize a list of arbitrary objects, each one is associated with the mnemonic image for the appropriate peg. Generally, a Peg List only has to be memorized one time, and can then be used over and over every time a list of items needs to be memorized.

Many people have come across the peg list system via the books of Harry Lorayne.

It is generally considered by serious mnemonists as less versatile than the Method of Loci (a.k.a., Memory Palaces) which allows easier association between locations and the object being memorized. It's also easier to create new memory palaces than to create new peg lists.

Example Usage

Create a Number Rhyme System where each number from 1 to 10 have a rhyming mnemonic keyword:

  • one - gun
  • two - shoe
  • three - tree
  • four - door
  • five - hive
  • six - sticks
  • seven - heaven
  • eight - bait (for fishing)
  • nine - wine
  • ten - pen

If you have a list of things to memorize, like a shopping list, you can associate each item of the list with a number rhyme image. So if your shopping list is: carrots, milk, bread, eggs, rice, etc., make associations like this:

  • One is "gun" -- imagine a gun shooting a pile of carrots, the first item on your shopping list.
  • Two is "shoe" -- imagine cleaning your muddy shoe with a bottle of milk.
  • Three is "tree" -- imagine bread growing on a tree.
  • Four is "door" -- imagine throwing eggs at a door.
  • Etc.

Once you've associated each item in your shopping list with a number peg, you'll be able to mentally walk through the numbers, recall the rhymes ("what was the gun shooting?"), and recall the item ("carrots").

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