Method of Loci

Cicero Denounces Catiline by Maccari

The method of loci is a memory technique used in ancient Greece and Rome where you imagine a building, and mentally place the items you must remember at locations in the building. Then later you recall these items as you mentally walk through the building and view them in the locations you pass. As this New York Times article on the method of loci describes, the first known published description of this method was in Rhetorica ad Herennium in 80 B.C.  Cicero also describes this method in his work De Oratore.

A study of the method of loci published in March 2017 by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, the Donders Institute, and Stanford University on the effectiveness of the method of loci showed this technique results in significant recall improvement across time periods of twenty minutes, one day, and four months. Even after four months, the group using the method of loci had more than a 20% level of improvement in recall over the active and passive control groups.

The study included using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the subjects, and then comparing their before and after MRIs with memory athletes. They found the method of loci subject’s connections across brain centers came to resemble the memory athlete’s. In their study they show with a figure of the brain’s MRI connections the noticeable difference in connections between memory athletes and controls and indicate this improvement from using the method of loci may result from improved connections (links) across brain areas.

Using Loci, you link in your mind. You place nodes with camera or file images, web links, or text at locations in your home and office. You can link them to form mind map graphs or you can leave them unattached as a form of pinned note. In either case you have placed them in a location, reinforcing your memory of them for recall at any time, even when not using the Loci application. Furthermore, you can share your mind map graphs with others, taking the method of loci from one person’s internal thoughts to an external visualization that can be communicated digitally with other contributors.

Loci Available on Windows Store for HoloLens

Buy Loci On Windows Store

On April 15, 2017 we published version 1.0 of the Loci universal windows application for HoloLens on the Windows Store.  Loci lets you create mind maps  in mixed reality where you place the mind map nodes in your home or office in locations that have meaning to you.   Using locations in this way, as a form of method of loci, where you associate your thoughts and ideas with locations, has been shown to increase your recall of them later.

Get App on Microsoft Store

Our Loci application allows you to create and edit mind maps in mixed reality. You save and load these using OneDrive.  The primary way to interact with Loci is using voice and gaze, and the current supported language is English. To understand how Loci works, it has a free one day trial.