Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963848 | Print ISBN: 9781412916882 | Online ISBN: 9781412963848| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ernest T. Goetz
Remembering information when one needs it, whether it is the name of an old friend one meets on the street, the answer to a question in a game of Trivial Pursuit, or the facts needed to answer a question on an exam is a challenge all people have faced. Mnemonics are aids or techniques for organizing information and encoding information to help an individual recall it when he or she needs it. The word mnemonic is derived from the ancient Greek word mnemonikos (“of memory”), and the first reported use of mnemonics appears in Cicero's De Oratore . In Cicero's account, the poet Simonides was dining with many other guests in the home of a wealthy merchant after having recited one of his poems. During the affair, Simonides was summoned outside the banquet hall. While Simonides was outside, the roof collapsed, crushing all the guests beyond recognition, but Simonides was ...