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Photographic Memory


tmaromine
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(I guess this goes here ?.. :) )

 

I know that there doesn't seem to be much science supporting (or disproving ?) photographic memory, and that if something near it does exist, it might not be total anyway, but...

 

Ever daydream ? Ever lucid dream ? One is relatively conscious during daydreams and lucid dreams, and, when one's "in" them, they look vivid and reality-like. Is the 'key' of photographic-type memory related to what happens when we dream ? I so wish I could recall anything totally, but I can't. Except in the few seconds of lucid dreaming I've mastered, and any time when I daze off into my own world. Granted, in dreams it's not a memory being recalled, but it is the mind making scenes completely clear and vivid as if it's an image.

 

...Anyone have such a memory ?

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...Anyone have such a memory ?

 

If only!

 

This Eidetic memory has been found in a small percentage of children but apparently does not exist in adults. However, I know adults with the ability to retain and recall vast amounts of information accurately and effortlessly. I'd call this a photographic memory...

 

Scientific American: Ask the Experts: Neuroscience: Is there such a thing as a photographic memory? And if so, can it be learned?

 

I found this but haven't looked too closely at it yet:

Photographic Memory Training How you can help develop a Photographic Memory

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If only!

 

This Eidetic memory has been found in a small percentage of children but apparently does not exist in adults. ...

 

It exists, but is rare. See 'savant syndrome': >> Savant Syndrome

 

...Savant syndrome is perhaps one of the most fascinating phenomena in the study of human differences and cognitive psychology. It is often claimed that, because of the extraordinary abilities involved, we will never truly understand human memory and cognition until we understand the savant.

 

Savant syndrome was first properly recognised by Dr. J. Langdon Down, (n.b. he also originated the term Down’s syndrome). In 1887, he coined the term "idiot savant" - meaning low intelligence, and from the French, savoir, knowing or wise, to describe someone who had "extraordinary memory but with a great defect in reasoning power." ...

 

Is the 'key' of photographic-type memory related to what happens when we dream ?
Not really. If anything, I speculate that an eidetic/photographic memory might enhance dreaming. The 'key' of photographic memory is still poorly understood. :confused:
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So, like the ability to easily learn languages when young, children also seem to have great memory, only to be 'lost' as they grow.

 

I have 3ish languages behind me (rather fluent in Spanish, know a fair amount of Italian, and along with Spanish am studying French), so maybe my mind could still recall things better with some training. And with the likes of Mozart, maybe he got his memory by devotion to what he loved ? If you don't know how to play violin, and study at it, you might become proficient in it. Same with driving, or sewing, or building a model car, or learning to speedread. Just work at it... That site looks interesting Monomer.

 

I remember a musical savant on House (or a SciChannel show – I don't remember from where). He was a great musician, and could instantly play back at least ten notes that someone else touched, without even looking I imagine... I'd love that ability, though I'd still like my mentality. :confused:

 

Hope we dig up that key some day.

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... And with the likes of Mozart, maybe he got his memory by devotion to what he loved ? If you don't know how to play violin, and study at it, you might become proficient in it. ...

Hope we dig up that key some day.

 

What is known is that particulars of an individual's brain structure is a major factor. Mozart was born a musical savant and only happy circumstance gave him the opportunity to apply his ability so widely. :doh:

 

Most true savants have offsetting deficits in reasoning and/or social skills, making them difficult study subjects. Enter "Brainman" Daniel Tammet, who does not suffer these deficits. Here's a starter article on Daniel; a Google of his name provides many others. >> Brain Man, One Man's Gift May Be The Key To Better Understanding The Brain - CBS News

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Excellent article, thanks for sharing!

 

So perhaps part of the reason why it is so rare to find older eidetikers is that adults are much more likely than children to try to both verbally and visually encode the picture into memory. If this is true, then it means that adults are more likely to disrupt the formation of eidetic images and are thus much less likely to be identified as having eidetic imagery, even if they really do possess the ability.

 

That last line is very interesting. "Even if they really do possess the ability". Perhaps this phenomena is intrinsic to us all, but we quickly forget/abandon it as it is superseded by higher brain functions and is not evolutionarily useful.

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Ever daydream ? Ever lucid dream ? One is relatively conscious during daydreams and lucid dreams, and, when one's "in" them, they look vivid and reality-like. Is the 'key' of photographic-type memory related to what happens when we dream ?
Based on my own experience, I don’t believe so.

 

Like nearly everyone, I daydream. For as long as I have memories, nearly all of my dreams have been lucid – when, as a teenager, I first became acquainted with books and magazines about lucid dreaming, I was surprised to discover that any people other than very young children don’t. However, I don’t have a photographic (also known as eidetic) memory, nor do I perform ordinary tasks of memorization, such as learning lines in a script, poem, or song, noticeably better or worse than most people I know.

 

The only arguably non-neurotypical “trick” I can do is a sort of limited eidetic memory wherein I look very briefly (<.5 sec) at a photograph or page of text, then, the image no longer visible, picture it in my mind, recalling objects in the picture, or read the text. My ability at this is very limited – about 20 words of text or an equivalent picture – and I must “read” the image within 5 seconds or so – but I actually can perform it in controlled circumstances. It’s not a natural ability, but one I learned with practice as a teenager, using “flash cards”. It’s handy for such things as quickly reading captions, road signs, etc. My adeptness at this trick appears to be gradually decreasing, perhaps due to the effects of aging, or lack of practice.

I so wish I could recall anything totally, but I can't.
If you strongly wish this ability, I’d suggest pursuing a technological solution. Prototype portable systems that record everything seen and heard by the wearer are being developed now (eg: Microsoft research’s “MyLifeBits”), while present-day compression and mass storage technology make feasible the recording and retention of all of a person’s life (it takes roughly 5TB to record full audio video of 1 year of life from the point of view of a single person). With such a system, one would have the ability to recall with events with complete accuracy and greater detail than with which one initially experienced them. Potentially, such recordings could contain images and sounds in light and acoustic ranges beyond those of our ordinary senses.

 

As Monomer notes, true eidetic memory is rare, possibly to the point of non-existence, in all but a small percentage of young children. Although the savantism Turtle mentions is a lifelong condition of a tiny fraction of adults, it is usually accompanied by profound mental handicaps resulting in effectively very low measured intelligence – a condition few people or normal intelligence would chose to have. This leads me to suspect that the loss of eidetic memory (some psychologists believe that all children have eidetic memories when very young – less than a year old – but lack the language and cognitive skills for the ability to be detected and measured) is a critical part of normal neuropsychological development, our increasingly symbolic way of perceiving experience linked to our increasingly abstract way of understanding and interacting with reality.

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During lucid dreams, or good daydreams, the mind is 'keeping everything in place' though... If you're lucid dreaming, you could read a book, remember it, and then go back and read the same thing again, and that's only because your mind has kept the words in order, in place, in that book... Or, that's at least what I'm assuming. Maybe the text would change with every look, since I know dreams are crazy, and world-changing in seconds.

 

By just practising now, it seems I too can remember about 20 words for a few seconds. If I look at my messy desk, I see my camera, glasses, wallet, mobile, pens, headphones, and can remember where they are for the most part, but it's impossible for me to remember how they're positioned, especially in relation to one another – to remember the exact image. (And this might not relate to topic, but: I just realised that I can type in the dark, IE, I don't need to see the keys. I simply know where they are, but trying to recall the keyboard as an image and placing every key in it's place is impossible for me... Maybe that's another topic.)

 

I would love a realistic MyLifeBits. TBs are becoming rather normal, and harddrives are the size of your cell phone, so at least a day's or week's complete recording probably wouldn't be far off. But, if you could still achieve near-complete, if even just of recent past, memory, it'd simply be a great mental accomplishment as I see it. The more one can do in one's mind can only help mentally.

 

I don't desire to be savant, simply wish I could have the abilities they do alongside a 'normal mentality'. It'd be amazing if we did indeed have the ability, and did not lose it... But that's what technology's now for, eh?

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