It is obvious that humans learn by engaging all of our five senses. Our brain processes our experience and stores memories acquired through different sensory channels. We start learning the Alphabet Song long before we are able to know what each letter looks like. You may have tried to study for an exam by memorizing formulas and lists of items by associating them with rhymes or acronyms. Our brain processes written information differently when it is presented in the form of sound or images.
It is interesting to note several studies in the area of audible memorization. An article in the Wall Street Journal mentions several studies in this area, highlighting the ability of the brain to be able to store and retrieve large amounts of information associate with music or audible cues such as rhyme and rhythm. Many sacred texts, as well as ancient pieces of literature such as “The Odyssey” and “The Iliad” have been passed down through the centuries in audible format long before they were recorded on papyrus or parchment. If anyone wishes to memorize the sequence of digits of Pi, you may have to resort to memorizing Piems. Memorizing random text and numbers is easier when we associate it with sounds and images.
The WSJ shows the connection between the ability to memorize sound in relation to creating a visual memory associated with alphanumeric information:
“Dr. Roediger, professor of psychology at the Memory Lab at Washington University in St. Louis, remembers large sequences of information by using a common number-rhyming mnemonic that goes, “one is a gun, two is a shoe, three is a tree, etc.” He puts an image of whatever he needs to remember along with an image of the word associated with the number in the rhyme. “So if one is a ball, I’ll picture a gun shooting a ball. If two is a chair, I’ll imagine a shoe sitting on a chair, and so on.”
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