What got me was how easy this trick is - and why did it work so well when done under the framework of a journey? Why was this geographic angle superior to a method based upon the senses? It is known that extreme images/scenarios help memory recall as do smells and music, but a journey as outlined above, is by far the most practical approach.
In The Red Queen, Matt Ridley looks at the general differences between men and women when it comes to visuo-spatial tasks. Putting aside the idea that men have generally superior visuo-spatial skills due to polygamy (a phenomena seen in some mice, so not without precedent), the work of Silverman and Eals suggest that our HG past has left indelible imprints upon the modern self due to a division of labour. Whereas men looked for food sources that were 'mobile, distant and unpredictable', women foraged closer to home,
- ...[Silverman and Eals] asked themselves: what special spatial skills would women gatherers need that men would not? One thing they predicted was that women would need to notice things more- to spot roots, mushrooms, berries, plants - and would need to remember landmarks so as to know where to look. So Silverman and Eals did a series of experiments that required students to memorise a picture full of objects and then recall them later, or to sit in a room for three minutes, and then recall what objects were where in the room (the students were told they were merely being asked to wait in the room until a different experiment was ready). On every measure of object memory and location memory, the women students did sixty to seventy per cent better than the men.