Memorize Complex Sequences (like Passwords) with Spaced RepetitonMind Hacks

Memorize Complex Sequences (like Passwords) with Spaced Repetiton

Patrick Allan , Gawker Media

Memorize Complex Sequences (like Passwords) with Spaced Repetiton

It can be difficult memorizing so many passwords and phone numbers, but a recent experiment presented at the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security explains an easy method for branding them into your brain.

The study, conducted by researchers Stuart Shecter and Joseph Bonneau, involved hundreds of participants who thought they were taking an ongoing series of attention tests. The real testing was actually being done on how the users logged in to the tests. Over time, the users slowly memorized complex passwords and passphrases using a process called "spaced repetition":

Every time the login screen appeared, the user would be prompted to type in a series of words or letters on the screen. Over time that string of characters took increasingly long to appear, prompting the user to enter it from memory. More letters and words were added to it over time: After 10 days of testing, the user was required to enter a series of 12 random letters or six random words-for example, "rlhczwpsnffp" or "hem trial one by sky group" to start the test.

The passwords and passphrases the users eventually memorized would take an entire year to crack, and that's with a million dollars worth of equipment.

Note that while this is handy, we don't really recommend you use it with passwords. You should have a separate password for every account you use, and it's unlikely that you'll be able to remember all of them, even with spaced repetition-that's why you need a password manager. You could use this for the few passwords you do want to memorize, but you could also just create stronger, more memorable passwords with dictionary words .

That said, for other complex sequences you need to memorize, this works well. Just write down whatever it is you want to remember, and try to remember as much as you can every time you use it. Don't force it all at once because that defeats the purpose. Over time it will seal itself in your brain on its own, and all you have to do is give an honest effort to remember as much as you can each time.

How to Teach Humans Really Complex Passwords | Wired

Photo by Mr Seb .

Contribute to LifeHacker

Write for Us

Comments ()

X
Sort By:
Be the first one to review.

Suggested for you

  • The Difference Between Stocks and Bonds

    The Difference Between Stocks and Bonds
  • Set a Positive, Engaging Vibe with a 'Favorite Things' Party

    Set a Positive, Engaging Vibe with a 'Favorite Things' Party
  • Trick Your Brain to Release Happy Hormones by Faking a Smile

    Trick Your Brain to Release Happy Hormones by Faking a Smile
  • The Starwood Preferred Guest Card Just Increased Their Sign-Up Bonus

    The Starwood Preferred Guest Card Just Increased Their Sign-Up Bonus
  • Gene Activity in the Spinal Cord Determines a Person's Handedness

    Gene Activity in the Spinal Cord Determines a Person's Handedness
  • How to Make Your Voice Heard in Politics

    How to Make Your Voice Heard in Politics
  • Drink Coffee Early Morning to Enhance Memory: Study

    Drink Coffee Early Morning to Enhance Memory: Study

Editor's Pick

  • I am Suchi Mukherjee, CEO & Founder of Limeroad, and This is How I Work

    I am Suchi Mukherjee, CEO & Founder of Limeroad, and This is How I Work
  • How to Squeeze More Battery Out of Your Phone With Android Doze Apps

    How to Squeeze More Battery Out of Your Phone With Android Doze Apps
  • 10 Fashion Hacks That Will Change Your Life Overnight

    10 Fashion Hacks That Will Change Your Life Overnight

Subscribe to latest stories

Trending on social



Subscribe for latest stories