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Mnemonic devices and natural memory


An attempt was made to make a mnemonic device, the method of loci, function more like natural memory. This was done by using familiar loci provided by the subject and by making learning incidental. After comparing the three conditions used in the experiment, it was concluded that recall of the verbal material presented to the subjects depended on the associa- tion of the loci with the words presented and also depended on the retrieval of the loci so that they could act as recall cues. The operation of natural memory seems to be similar to the method of loci for the following reasons: (1) The routine of people’s lives automatically provides loci that are associated with less predictable events. (2) Perception rather than imagery associates loci with these events. (3) The accessibility in memory of familiar loci allows them to be used as retrieval cues for recent, but less predictable, episodic events.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Francis S. Bellezza.

Additional information

This research was supported in part by a grant from the Field-Wiltsie Foundation and by a grant from the Ohio University Research Committee. The authors would like to thank Ohio University Computer Services for making computer time available.

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Bellezza, F.S., Reddy, B.G. Mnemonic devices and natural memory. Bull. Psychon. Soc. 11, 277–280 (1978).

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  • Free Recall
  • Serial Position
  • Visual Imagery
  • Composite Image
  • Verbal Material