Friday, July 29, 2016

The Time And Place For Mental Pictures

Mental pictures, like all memory devices, are useful under many circumstances. But they are not always necessary. A salesman or a dentist or a teacher can use them with great profit, for in all of these professions it is essential to remember a great many people who are seen on at intervals.

But it would quite obviously be foolish for a sales clerk in a five-and-ten to use them for remembering customers’ names.

Th are just too many small-purchase customers for the process to be practical. On the other hand, it would be extremely worthWhile for a sales clerk in a men’s clothing store to use mental pictures for remembering the names of his regular customers. It is even safe to bet that if he were to do so, the list of his regular customers would rapidly increase. A person loves to hear his own name spoken, especially by a virtual stranger.

Let’s take another illustration. It would be silly to use mental pictures to remember the names of your own children, even if you had fourteen of them. Unless you were a remarkably forgetful parent, you would hardly need mental pictures to key you in on your own offspring. However, I know a parent who uses mental pictures to remember the names of all the other children in her, neighborhood. As you might guess, she is an exceptionally popular woman-and not just with the children, but also with their proud mothers and dads.

One final word. In using any memory system, there is a great temptation to apply artificial mnemonic devices when they are not really needed. Thus, a warning is in order. Determine the people-or, more accurately, the kinds of people-whose names you need to remember. Then use the system of mental pictures solely for them. You will be surprised at how effectively it will work if you limit the number of names, take the task seriously, and make up mental pictures that are both amusing and apt. 

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