Lexington, KY

Mnemonic device exhibition at Transylvania University explores how memory works

Amarie M.

Information in this article is sourced from scientific/medical sites, which are cited in and below the story.

Don't you just hate it when you can’t remember something in the moment that you just know you know? It might be the title of a song, somebody's phone number, where you put your keys, someone's name who just spoke to you, or the reason you walked into a room.

According to medical research, these types of temporary, short-term memory shortages are generally nothing to worry about and can happen to anyone. But you may be more concerned with having to remember, memorize, or recall more detailed information like the answers to test questions, facts, figures, long lists, or larger amounts of information.

What is a mnemonic device?

You likely have already used mnemonic devices as a tool to help jog the memory like memorizing something through the use of:

  • Songs or rhymes: I before E, except after C
  • Acronyms: Scuba (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus)
  • Mini stories: Never Eat Sour Watermelon (North, East, South & West)
  • Associations: Diastolic (top) and Systolic (bottom) because D is before S in the alphabet.

Simply put, a mnemonic device is an official term for a memorization tool.

Transylvania University's mnemonic device exhibition

The university currently has “Mnemonic Devices” on exhibit at its Morlan Gallery, which examines how the memory works when a person sees photography and videography. Associate Art History Professor, Emily Goodman developed the exhibition partly out of interest in how photographs are often taken as accurate by people, even though photos obviously can be manipulated.

Professor Goodman made these statements about the exhibition:

I wanted to consider what it means to use photographs to aid memory and how images can connect us to the past.
I also wanted to look at the ways in which the photographic image replicates the process of remembering — how it captures certain details and snippets, privileging those elements over others.

Mnemonic devices help with memory by accessing the part of the brain that naturally stores data. If you are interested in checking out this memory exhibition, it will be open to the public until November 22, 2022.

  • Adminission to Morlan Gallery is free.
  • Hours are 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
  • Parking is available behind the Mitchell Fine Arts Center.

Additional programs and attractions will be offered.

Transylvania University is located at 300 North Broadway, Lexington, Kentucky, 40508

Phone: 859‐233‐8300

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