I’ve written previously on the Method of Loci (aka the memory palace) and how the power of this mnemonic device can be utilized in data visualizations. A recent study examined the effect of using virtual environments as the memory palace in stead of conventional, real-world environments. Results indicate that virtual environments worked just was well as real-world environments as a means to memorize lists of unrelated words. These findings are useful to scientists interested in conducting research on memory and mnemonic techniques. Previous work has ask participants to employ the Method of Loci using familiar, real-world environments (such as a childhood home). With evidence that virtual environments act as a similarly effective medium on which to place memories, researchers can now further standardize their methodology (by requiring all participants to use the same mnemonic environment) while maintaining generalizablity of their results to real world settings.
Legge, E., Madan, C., Ng, E., and Caplan, J. (2012). Building a memory palace in minutes: Equivalent memory performance using virtual versus conventional environments with the Method of Loci. Acta Psychologica, 141 (3), 380-390.