Mnemonic (/nɪˈmɒnɪk/) – noun – the study and development of systems for improving and assisting memory.
Mnemonics are learning techniques that help us organize, retain and remember information, by making recall easy. They make use of cues and imagery to encode information is such a way, so as to allow for efficient storage and retrieval. They assist in retaining information by associating it with something more meaningful and easily accessible. Mnemonics could be in the form of poems, songs and jingles, acronyms, phrases, or images. They are popularly used for remembering lists, numerical sequences, learning foreign languages, and also to aid patients with memory deficits as a result of neurological conditions. As toddlers, we were taught the alphabet by singing the ABCs, and recollected the colors of the rainbow from VIBGYOR – Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red. In school, an aid to remember the value of pi was by asking the question, “May I have a large container of coffee?” – the number of letters in each word (including the question mark) equals the numerals in pi – 3.1415927. While studying biochemistry in college, we learnt how MeTT VIL Phly with His Arg – Methionine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Phenylalanine, Histadine, Arginine – the essential amino acids. As athletes, we are aware of RICE in case of sprains – Rest the injured area, Ice the sprain, Compress with a wrap or bandage, Elevate the injured area. My earliest memories of using mnemonics have been in childhood piano lessons – beginning with the notes on the lines and spaces of the treble and bass staves.