hsmemoryquiz is a command-line utility for helping you test memory associations
using the Dominic system.
Dominic System Overview
If you aren't familiar with the Dominic system, the best starting point is the MentatWiki.
One goal of practicing the system is learning to memorize long
sequences of digits. There are many other uses for it, but it's a good
motivating case. We'll give some quick start steps below and then jump into
hsmemoryquiz can help.
Memorize the basics
To become proficient at the Dominic system you need to first memorize the digit to letter mapping:
Learn it well!
Memorizing digit pairs
Next, you'll need to associate every possible digit pair (00-99) with a meaningful mental image. You can start by writing out a list of the digit pairs, converting them to letter pairs, and thinking of an image to associate with those letters.
- 73 = GC = Grumpy Cat looking grumpy
- 93 = NC = Nyan Cat riding a rainbow
You can prepare to use
hsmemoryquiz by creating a text file with entries in
# my_associations.txt ... 73: Grumpy Cat looking grumpy ... 93: Nyan Cat riding a rainbow ...
Ideally you want to make the images as vivid and memorable as possible for you. Many people choose iconic characters from literature, celebrities, cartoon characters, etc.
When you're first learning a system, having to memorize 100 items as a
pre-requisite can be daunting.
hsmemoryquiz aims to alleviate some of that by
having you write out the images in a text file and then quizzing you on them
in different ways.
It's worth noting that once you memorize the digit pairs, you can build composite images by picturing the first entity performing the action of the second. Continuing with the above example, I'd associate 7393 with Grumpy Cat flying on a rainbow. If I needed to memorize 9373, I could picture Nyan Cat making a grumpy face.
Once you know how to combine the pairs, there's not a lot of benefit to quizzing
yourself on them, so
hsmemoryquiz doesn't have a feature for that. It only
helps you with memorizing the pairs. However, it's good to remember that one of
the benefits of learning the system is this ability to quickly associate four
digits with an image, so that memorizing, say, a 12-digit number is reduced to a
sequence of three composite images that you can learn to quickly decode.
These steps will eventually be simplified, but in the meantime, here's how to get up and running:
- Install the Haskell Platform
- $ git clone https://github.com/ericrasmussen/hsmemoryquiz.git
- $ cd hsmemoryquiz
- $ cabal install
- Test that it works with: $ hsmemoryquiz --help
You'll first need to create a file of your memory associations, using the format:
00: my association for OO 01: my association for OA ... 99: my association for NN
Each line may contain only one association (it is not valid to have a newline character in the association text).
In the root of this repository I have a file named dominic_sample.txt, comprised of computer scientists (mostly borrowed from this page on Wikipedia).
To be clear: I don't recommend you try to memorize this list. That would only help you memorize computer scientists. The goal is to fill it in with images you find memorable, funny, or inspiring. But our sample file is convenient for testing out the application.
It looks a little like this:
# dominic_sample.txt ... 44: Dorothy E. Denning 45: Douglas Engelbart 46: Dana Scott 47: David Gelernter ...
hsmemoryquiz can now read in that file and project the associations as digits,
letters, or mnemonics (the text part of your memory association). For instance,
to have the program quiz you on letters but have you answer in the form of
mnemonics, use these flags:
$ hsmemoryquiz --from=letters --to=mnemonics --path=dominic_sample.txt Welcome! Quit at any time with ":q" or by pressing ctrl-c > HC: We were looking for: Haskell Curry > BD: Caught: interrupt Final score: 0/1 (0%)
You can also use the short flags:
$ hsmemoryquiz -f letters -t mnemonics -p dominic_sample.txt
By default you will be quizzed on questions at random, but you can use the -i or --index flag with the arguments "ordered" (questions asked sequentially based on their ordering in your text file), "reversed" (questions asked in reverse based on the ordering in your text file), or the default, "random".
You can quit by pressing ctrl+c or typing ":q" at the prompt. The console will also attempt to catch other exceptions and still print the final score, such as the EOF exception (typically ctrl+d on *nix or ctrl+z for Windows).
This program is just for fun and there are many ways you could contrive to cheat yourself. Using the example 32 = CB = Charlie Brown, here is a breakdown of how your answers will be checked based on the answer type:
|digits||requires both digits (ex. "> CB: 32")|
|letters||requires both letters, case insensitive (ex. "> 32: cB")|
|mnemonics||requires at least 3 characters from the string, case insensitive (ex. "> CB: charlie")|
I'm not endorsing the Dominic system or recommending people learn it. If you do wish to learn it, please look up online resources and check out available books by its creator, Dominic O'Brien.
It's fun to learn memory tricks, but remember that, like exercise equipment, they only work if you stay active with them. There's also no practical benefit for many of us to remember large numbers (especially if you have a mobile device to store everything!), but this system is useful in other ways too. In particular, it has been used as the basis for a memory palace called "Hotel Dominic". You can read more at MemoriseThis!
I added an overview and more details about the motivation for this project on: http://chromaticleaves.com/posts/haskell-memory-quiz.html