January 1972

The Ancient Art of MemoryUsefulness in Treatment

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Neurological Institute of New York, New York. Dr. Patten is now with the Medical Neurology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Neurol. 1972;26(1):25-31. doi:10.1001/archneur.1972.00490070043006

Four patients with verbal memory defects associated with dominant hemisphere lesions were taught how to use an ancient mnemonic system. By the strategy of encoding memory items in a vivid, visual way, patients were able to use a prearranged peg list of images as labels to facilitate recall of the to-be-remembered items. Using this system, verbal memory performance was enormously increased. These data indicate that the mnemonic systems known to be effective in increasing the recall of professional mnemonists and normal college students are also of benefit to some patients with organic diseases of the nervous system.