Let's test an ancient technique called the memory palace. We'd like you to try and memorize a 10-item shopping list. (We've got an interactive version of this here, if you prefer it: http://nyti.ms/1ZwbGYJ)
  1. Imagine waking up and getting ready for the day.
    We’ll show you an item you need to buy, and we’ll pair it with a common location in a home.
  2. Try to visualize your home and your apartment. And visualize these pairs.
    That's part of how the "memory palace" method works.
  3. As you reach to turn off your alarm, you find that it's a muffin.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.13.42 am
  4. You walk on the floor and find fries at your feet.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.13.47 am
  5. As you reach to turn on the light, you find rice underneath it.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.14.26 am
  6. You look out the window, and apples are stuck to the glass.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.14.48 am
  7. In the bathroom, you find lemons growing in the toilet.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.15.13 am
  8. While brushing your teeth, oranges fill up in the sink.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.15.42 am
  9. While grabbing pants, you find tomatoes sitting in your drawer.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.16.05 am
  10. You look up and see toothpaste stuck to the ceiling fan.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.16.25 am
  11. As you open the door to leave, a hot dog sits on the knob.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.16.45 am
  12. Leaving your home, you see ketchup dripping down a fence.
    Screen shot 2016 03 24 at 11.17.09 am
  13. Now, take a few moments to burn these images and locations in your mind.
    Feel free to go back through the items. Adding motion, sounds, smells and tactile sense to your imagined scenes may help you remember them.
  14. When you're ready, grab a pencil and a pad of paper.
  15. Put your phone down and wait 10 seconds. Then, start to write down the 10 items on your shopping list.
    Focus on your memory palace, associating your items with places in your home.
  16. How'd you do? Scroll back up and see what you missed.
    This isn't a perfect adaptation of the memory palace technique, but most people who try this technique can improve their memories. We explain it here: http://nyti.ms/1VJml2f
  17. Want to try again?
    On our site, the puzzle is different every time you try it. Here's the link: http://nyti.ms/1ZwGvws