ArtLex Art Dictionary



- Retaining and recalling past experience; recollection or remembrance. All that a person can remember, or something remembered. The period of time covered by the remembrance or recollection of a person or group of people. Also, the capacity of a material, such as plastic or metal, to return to a previous shape after manipulation. The study of memory, or the use of tricks to remembering is called mnemonics after the Greek goddess Mnemosyne, who was considered the mother of the nine muses. Both remembering and forgetting are crucial to the creative process.




 Tips for Improving Memory

  1. Use sketchbooks as the place to both draw and write ideas you think important at any time. Keep sketchbooks in as many places as might be useful -- e.g. desk, bedside, backpack, car, etc.
  2. Make lists. Don't depend on your memory to recall the items you need to produce an art work, to throw the big party, or pack for a trip. Keep a pen and a few 3x5 inch cards handy for your lists, and keep some in your pocket or purse at all times. Graduate to a day-planner notebook or a pocket computer if you find either of them more helpful.
  3. In art history class, make a thumbnail sketch of each slide your teacher shows you in class lectures. Among the notes you take and study later, such little drawings can be very simply and quickly drawn. They'll help establish associations between the notes and the images.
  4. Put frequently used items in the same place each time. Keep your car keys on a hook by the front door.
  5. Repeat information. Repeat the name of someone you have just been introduced to, or ask the person to spell it so that it will be "fixed" in your mind.
  6. Make associations. Link a new piece of information to an old one. For example, if you have to remember an address, 1206, link it to a birthday you know, or to a jingle you know that it reminds you of. There are several such "mnemonic devices" for remembering long lists. For example, remembering ROYGBV can help you recall the primary and secondary colors in order -- Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet.
  7. Review information before you must recall it. Look at photo albums or yearbooks before going to a party where you expect to see people you haven't seen in years.
  8. Exercise your mind. Keep up with the news, take a trip, learn a new language, play a new game, take on new challenges, etc.
  9. Keep memory lapses in perspective. Don't use them as an excuse to berate yourself for having reached a distinguished level of maturity! Young people forget things too, but memory lapses don't trouble them. In fact, teens are among the most likely to leave possessions behind on public transportation. Instead of neurosing about their forgetfulness, they rationalize it by saying they were too busy or had other things on their minds.


Also see bias, commemorate, creativity, déjà vu, empiricism, epistemology, forget, genius, heritage, iconogenetic, inspiration, knowledge, memorabilia, mind, mythology, obsession, placeholder, posterity, posthumous, quotations, realia, relic, sentimental, Stendhal syndrome, stereotype, and unconscious.




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