Defining Cranial Nerves Mnemonic
In humans, there are 12 cranial nerves emanating from the brain that help play a vital role in our body’s function. The first and the second pair are found in the Cerebrum, the largest part of the brain that has four lobes and is responsible for thought and activity. The other 10 pairs emerge from the brainstem. Some are sensory (receive stimuli). Some are motory (carry impulses from the brain to the body to create movement). Some are both.
The cranial nerves are:
IV-Trochlear nerve/pathic nerve
V-Trigeminal nerve/dentist nerve
VIII-Vestibulocochlear nerve/Auditory nerve
XI-Accessory nerve/Spinal accessory nerve
and XII-Hypoglossal nerve.
So, how do you remember them?
Mnemonics (Greek for “memory”) are memory aids that are based on associations (patterns or sequences) that are visual, kinesthetic or auditory like pictures, dance, poetry or acronyms. Our brain relates to spatial, personal, sexual or humorous arrangements.
A Classical Method for Cranial Nerves Mnemonic
Since students have studied the cranial system immemorial, there are age-old ways to learn the cranial nerves:
Sensory: The start of each word starts with a “M” (motor), “S” (sensory) or “B” (both)
“Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says Big Business Makes Money.”
DIY for Cranial Nerves Mnemonic
It’s time to construct your own memory aids. The Do It Yourself (DIY) methods may seem outrageous, but studies have proven that ornate, funny or strange images have greater recall.
Sing a Song & Dance
Music helps memory. Kinetics – the act of physically doing something, reinforces memory. When you combine the two, you have a dynamic mnemonic.
Remember the silly childhood song “Hokey Pokey ?” The words are: “You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out . . . And you shake it all about . . . You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around . . . “ It’s hard to sing without dancing. Substitute the lyrics for the list of cranial nerves of your favorite little tune.
Move and Make Groups
If you don’t like to sing, just move. When you say the first four words, stand up. When you say the next four words, sit down; the next group, cross your legs, etc. Break up the 12 terms into four groups for easier recall. Your brain will “program” the combination.
Become A Star
Draw a pentagram. Write the words on each side of the star. (You should have 10 terms on the outside lines and
two in the center).
Think outside (and inside) the box
Draw a three-dimensional rectangle (sides longer than the front & back)
Make it look like a filing cabinet with three drawers in front. Write the words (in groups) all around the figure.
Have Some Pie
Draw a pie with 12 pieces and 12 terms. Leave some triangular pieces out to the side (as if it were ready to serve to a guest). Placing slices outside the pie makes it more graphic and reinforces your visual cues.
Direct A Play- Straight from Central Casting
If you could talk to the Facial nerve, what would she say ? What would the Olfactory’s name be ? Maybe, Mr. Oliver – a prudish kind of a guy who always turns his nose up at everyone else. The next cast member, Optic Oprah (wears glasses and has her own talk show), and Oculla Pupil (the preppy girl who controls the eye movement), etc. Create a script starring the cranial nerves.
Everyday Habits of Mnemonics
Ideally, cranial nerves mnemonic—like any other subject — entails practical habits: 1) According to the book Brain Building by Richard Leviton, your brain needs to be fed. Eat foods like salmon, nuts, eggs, and blue berries. 2) Use Aromatherapy. Certain scents “wake up” your brain like Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and citrus fruits. 3) Think like a Mensan, a member of the intellectual elite. New words must be incorporated into your life daily. Track your progress. 4) Don’t cram. Cramming new material only helps short-term memory.
Cranial nerves mnemonic requires effort. But, if you create a strategy, you’ll discover that it will be easier, save time, and improve your performance in this area as well as others.