Skip to content
Health, Sports & Psychology

Buzan on memory and shopping

Updated Tuesday, 5th August 2008

Tony Buzan explores memory and shopping - and sharpening one to help with the other.

This page was published over five years ago. Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see our Archive and Deletion Policy

Memory and shopping

Tony has developed a number of systems designed to help us improve our memories. He observes that our brains are divided into the left and right cortex. The left side is dedicated to tasks involving order, logic, words, lists, numbers and analysis, the right side deals with rhythm, imagination, daydreaming and colour. If we want to remember things we have to use the whole brain.

Tony Buzan juggling Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

By using our powers of imagination and association we give our brains something to key on, and this is the basis for Tony’s Rhyming number system: Suppose you want to buy the following 10 items in the supermarket: matches , honey, oranges, paper towels, washing powder, toothpaste, bananas, bread, shirts, cornflakes. Using the rhyming number system you first memorise the following "peg" words:

one bun
two shoe
three tree
four door
five hive
six sticks
seven Devon
eight skate
nine vine
ten hen

The next step is to make an imaginative link or association between the "peg" word and the thing you really want to remember. So for example if you want to buy matches you need to come up with an image that conveys a bun and matches in the same thought, it could be a bun on fire, to remember your second item, honey, you might think of your favourite shoe and then imagine it being filled full of honey, and so it goes on till you have a vivid image for all ten items.

Burning bun Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

The more vivid and memorable or even absurd the image the easier it is to remember. Hear your burning bun crackle and spit, smell the smoke and flames. Taste the honey oozing out of your shoe.

Bananas on cow statue Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Production team

The Rhyming number system can be harnessed to any memory task and is only one of a number of techniques developed by Tony Buzan.

Take it further

Tony has published a large number of books, including Use your Head Use Your Memory, The Speedreading Book, The Mind Map Book and Master Your Memory.

Fancy taking your interest in psychology further? Why not discover how the Open University can let you explore this area in more detail?





Related content (tags)

Copyright information

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?