Help me build a nerd-ish virtual dollhouse
September 11, 2009 4:31 AM   Subscribe

Is there software that mimics a 'memory palace'?

Lately, I've been using the open source flashcard software Anki (previously mentioned on this site). I've also been experimenting with memory maps. I've been using both as the foundation of Bloom's Taxonomy (using other techniques and tools for other areas). Both have helped with my study, but I've found that I'm more likely to remember things when visualizing my own memory palace. It seems I have a knack for remembering layouts of places. I can still draw the layouts from relatives and friend's houses from as early as five years old, so I think that a virtual simulator of a memory palace might be quite powerful for learning (more so than visualizing it in my head).

So, is there any software out there like this?

I've googled around, and found this guy's blog discussing Second Life as a memory palace. I was thinking along similar lines. Something like The Sims or Second Life, but for memory training would be great (alternatively, can you use these games for that purpose? I haven't played them, so not sure about their architecture for such a purpose). Thanks.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree to Education (7 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about a memory palace, but Freemind, is an open source mind mapping application.
posted by dortmunder at 6:02 AM on September 11, 2009

Do you need actual software for this? I used that technique last year when studying for my finals, and I just mapped out groundplans with a pencil and paper, and then used coloured pencils to tag names/dates/etc to windows/items of furniture/doors/etc.
I found it very effective for my exams - I made each paper a building I know well, and rooms within the buildings were modules within the papers. I carried around little cards with the groundplans for each of my memory rooms for a while, and just whipped them out as often as possible to refresh my memory.
posted by iona at 9:35 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've been idly wondering about this for years. incorporates a spatial model, but sets everything in a landscape framework, as opposed to a room framework.

The existing virtual worlds seem to proceed from the idea that the labor of building a world is half the point; I haven't found any virtual worlds that enable one to just quickly snap together entire structures, as opposed to requiring one to join and participate in a virtual community, buy/trade/accumulate building materials, etc.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:46 AM on September 11, 2009

Best answer: My curiosity renewed, I found these:


posted by darth_tedious at 12:41 PM on September 11, 2009

Best answer: I've recently been looking at Sauerbraten, a first-person shooter game that lets you quickly and easily build game levels from within the engine itself. If you want to do some 3d architectural stuff that can be easily walked around in, this might help. There's also Google Sketchup.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:20 PM on September 13, 2009

Best answer: Oh, and Second Life's building tools are powerful and versatile, but have a bit of a learning curve, and if you want to have a persistent structure (rather than something you carry around in your inventory and rez temporarily in sandbox areas) you'll need to pay rent on a parcel of land to put it on. If you do decide to go the Second Life route, drop me a note and I'll be glad to teach you the basics.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:24 PM on September 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks peoples.

dortmunder, I had seen that software, it works quiet well.

iona, good point, although I'm wondering if I had software whether it would be better than just visualizing it in my mind's eye.

darth_tedious & NMcCoy, I marked you both best answer. Even though they aren't exactly what I had in mind, they are pretty close and good enough to what I'm after.

I'll leave this question unresolved for awhile if anyone comes across this question and suggests some other software. Thanks again.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 2:48 AM on September 18, 2009

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