Although many people claim to have an eidetic recall, science has never discovered a single proven example of photographic memory. In adulthood, eidetic imagery is almost non-existent. Regardless, the following individuals have claimed photographic memory. Are they lying or what?
Eidetics are considered to be a form of hyperthymesia, which means having exceptional skills in any area of knowledge you focus your attention on. While most people can remember certain events from their lives, others can remember every detail about them. According to some experts, this ability can only be developed through years of focused study.
Children who exhibit eidetic memories often do so early in life. This phenomenon was first identified by Dr. Louis Martell during his studies of patients at the Menninger Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri. He found that occasionally these children would recall images that had been firmly implanted in their minds during some traumatic event in their early lives. They were able to reproduce these images in meticulous drawings and even photographs. Scientists believe that because of this ability, they are capable of learning anything they put their mind to.
As adults, these individuals lose their ability to remember things in such great detail. However, they still retain the ability to remember important facts, events, and figures from their pasts.
When the concepts are differentiated, eidetic memory is said to occur in a limited percentage of children and is seldom observed in adults, although real photographic memory has never been proved to exist. Studies have shown that most people can remember some events from their lives, but only a few can remember everything that happened every day for years without any help from computers or notebooks. Human memory isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
The truth is that our memory works by combining pieces of information found in other places, such as notes written down or conversations with others who were there. So yes, memories do exist, but they're not stored in some special place inside our brains. They are instead transformed into patterns of activity among the neurons where they are created in the first place.
Even if we could somehow store all our memories in our brains, would it be safe to do so? Some scientists think not, because whatever is stored on magnetic disks inside our computers today will be read by computer programs someday, and those programs could be hacked just like anything else important to us. The hackers wouldn't need to know anything about memory storage technology to destroy our memories, but they might be able to find out how we create them and use that knowledge to attack ourselves.
There is a clear distinction between eidetic and photographic memory. Everyone possesses an eidetic memory. However, for most people, this recollection lasts less than a second and for others, it lasts only a few seconds. The capacity to recall a picture for a considerably longer amount of time is referred to as photographic memory.
Eidetic memory is the ability to form a detailed image in your mind's eye that you can later reproduce perfectly with absolute precision. This type of memory has been described by many names over the years - including visual memory, photographic memory, konwolkenmentaliteit (the Dutch word for "photographic mental ability"), and mnemonic vision. It has also been said to be unique to individuals who have an extremely high IQ or who have experienced some sort of brain injury. Although some researchers believe there are certain techniques that can be used to improve one's eidetic memory, others say this type of memory is either innate or not possible to develop.
Photographic memory is the ability to remember something for a long period of time through sight alone. With this type of memory, you see a picture in your head and then create a copy of it. You cannot replay photographs but you can revisit scenes from past experiences. This type of memory has been used by photographers since the invention of photography and even today in modern times when we want to remember something for a long time, we take pictures of it.
Although the terms eidetic memory and photographic memory are frequently used interchangeably, they are also distinguished, with eidetic memory referring to the ability to see an object for a few minutes after it has vanished, and photographic memory referring to the ability to recall pages of text or numbers, or...
Photographic memory is sometimes mistaken with another strange—but real—perceptual phenomena known as eidetic memory, which occurs in 2 to 15% of children and extremely infrequently in adults. An eidetic picture is simply a vivid afterimage that lasts for a few minutes in the mind's eye before fading away. People who have this type of visual perception are called eidetikers.
The term "eidetic" comes from the Greek word eidos, meaning "form". Thus, someone who has an eidetic memory forms images vividly and precisely in his or her mind's eye. The opposite of eidetic is "emic", which means "mental". So, someone with emic memory only forms vague pictures in his or her mind's eye.
Eidetic memories have been reported by many psychologists including Frederic Bartlett, who in 1932 published an article titled "The Memory: A Psychological Study". Bartlett described several people he called "photographic" because they could remember details of events they had witnessed years earlier. He also mentioned a woman who could recall every single item in her house when it was sold in a garage sale several years later. Today, psychologists know that people do not always use their memory systems equally well; some processes are conscious while others are not. For example, when we remember names, we often think about how they sound rather than what they mean. This is why it is important to give thoughts to both remembering names and symbols.
Those with a superior eidetic memory can continue to visualize what they have recently seen with pinpoint accuracy. They may be able to retain the complete vision in their minds for many minutes. Most people's eidetic memories disappear within a few seconds. Those who do have this ability make up for it by remembering unusually large amounts of information.
People with an excellent memory enjoy many advantages. They are able to remember names, facts and figures about people they meet for the first time. These good memories also help them to avoid trouble - if they remember that someone is unpleasant or aggressive, they will take care not to get involved with him or her. Finally, those with a good memory are usually praised for their abilities.
Those with a poor memory have almost everything else going for them. They are often intelligent and successful, having gained the attention of others easily. Their ability to remember names and faces helps them in their careers - they are likely to be invited to meetings or interviews because others recognize that they will be able to recall important details about the situation.
Those with a medium memory are considered normal. They are as intelligent and attractive as anyone else, but lack one important advantage - the ability to remember things. If they meet someone new, they will have difficulty recalling his or her name later. When giving a speech, they will probably forget some of the details - unless they write them down beforehand!