The “One-Bun” method of memory recall is one of the most widely used memory techniques and is based on the first pillar of memory – association. However, it also includes the use of what are known as “peg images” – which are images you use to help you recall an association you have created. Confused? You needn’t be. Let’s look at how this works.
The one-bun method uses mnemonics by associating a number (one, two , three etc) and the second word (the peg image) with what you want to memorize. The most commonly used numbers and pegs are as follows: one- bun, two-shoe, three-tree, four-door, five-hive, six-sticks, seven-heaven, eight-gate, nine-vine and ten-hen.
If you need to recall more than ten items then you need to put more numbers and pegs together. You can literally do this for hundreds of items as long as you can remember the peg images (we’re assuming you can count into the hundreds without any issues!) Also keep in mind that you can use whatever peg images you want (you don’t have to use one-bun, two-shoe etc) and in fact the more your make this your own the better because you will find the pegs easier to recall when you created them.
Imagine that you have to remember ten important presidents of the United States (obviously you would normally need to remember many more items than this but the same principles apply no matter how many items it is). The names to remember are Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman. So let’s use the one-bun method to recall these names by associating each of these presidents with an image.
The One-Bun Association. Imagine a jack in the box springing open but instead of having a clown’s head, it has a hamburger bun as a head! The jack in the jack in the box will help you think of Jackson. Andrew Jackson.
The Two-Shoe Association. Imagine that Frankenstein is wearing giant red tennis shoes! Frankenstein will help remind you of Franklin Roosevelt.
The Three-Tree Association. Imagine a bomb is planted in a tree and it explodes and tree branches go flying everywhere. Bomb rhymes with Tom, which will help remind you of Thomas Jefferson.
The Four-Door Association. Imagine a mobster shooting the door to smithereens with his automatic gun. John F. Kennedy was assassinated by being shot several times.
The Five-Hive Association. Imagine Bob Marley, the King of Reggae music, with a beehive stuck on his head running all around trying to get it off. “Reggae” sounds very similar to Reagan.
The Six-Sticks Association. When you think of sticks you also think of wood. This will remind you of Woodrow Wilson.
The Seven-Heaven Association. Imagine that you look up at the dark clouds (which represent heaven) and it starts raining right down on your car. So you decide to pull out the soap and wash your car. Wash will help trigger the name George Washington.
The Eight-Gate Association. Imagine that a person comes barreling down a hill on a sled and runs right through the gate. Sled rhymes with Ted, which is short for Teddy Roosevelt.
The Nine-Vine Association. Imagine two apes linking arms and swinging on a vine. They swing right into a tree. Wham! That hurts! Apes linking is similar to Abe Lincoln.
The Ten-Hen Association. Imagine a chicken scuttling around the farmyard. But instead of seeing a normal chicken’s head, the chicken has a man’s head! He is half chicken, half man! This should help you to remember Harry Truman.
You will notice that each situation included to some degree the pillar of association, the pillar of images and the pillar of emotion (think back to the five pillars of memory). Each idea was associated with an image. And each image represented something out of the ordinary that we attempted to make very vivid and memorable. Remember, when doing associations, the stranger the image the easier it will be to memorize and recall (and yes, you will need to use that wonderful thing called your imagination in order to create these!)
Bonus Tip: When making associations try to use action. Action intensifies the image even more. Apes swinging in the tree, trees blowing up, and doors being shot are all action images that are intense and will be remembered easier than plain static images like ‘a tree’ or ‘a car’.
In the one-bun method, the ten original images are used for every application. In other words, the images of the hamburger bun, the shoe and the tree (and so on) do not change from application to application. Only the graphics that help to associate a bun, shoe or tree with what you are trying to memorize changes.
If you would like to remember more than ten items (and we’re guessing you would), here is a list of peg images going up to the number fifty. All you need to do is remember the pegs and you’ll be able to remember up to fifty items!