No cameras or scanning of prints into an electronic format to be carried about in a digital device. Just simply seeing and remembering everything...picture perfect!
It is known as eidetic imagery in the scientific literature. However, the term ‘photographic memory’ has a certain flair and mystic all to itself. It is as if there is an internal camera within these chosen few whose shutter never stops recording snapshots that are then neatly filed away in their brains, able to be retrieved instantly upon request.
|Jing Ming Um. “Memory.” 2008-Jun-15.|
In his New York Times Best Seller book, Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer writes; “Even though many people claim to have a photographic memory, there’s no evidence that anyone can actually store mentally snapshots and recall them with perfect fidelity. Indeed, only one case of photographic memory has ever been described in the scientific literature.”
Still this case, published in 1970 by a Harvard vision scientist named Charles Stromeyer III, has some rather unusual turns in the story plot that have kept the complete narrative from ever being chronicled.
Ask The Scientists
When Scientific American decided to take on this subject and ask the question of whether photographic memory exists they reported;
“The vast majority of the people who have been identified as possessing eidetic imagery are children. The prevalence estimates of the ability among preadolescents range from about 2 percent to 10 percent. And it is an equal-opportunity phenomenon--there¿s no gender difference in who is likely to be an eidetiker. Although it is certainly controversial, some researchers also believe that eidetic imagery occurs more frequently in certain populations of the mentally retarded (specifically, in individuals whose retardation most likely stems from biological, rather than environmental, causes) and also among geriatric populations. With a few notable exceptions, however, most research has shown that virtually no adults seem to possess the ability to form eidetic images.”
There’s A Test For That?
Wondering if you have photographic memory?
Well, there’s a test for that!
In fact, there are a number of sources available online. Here is one we found online using the Picture Elicitation Method, from the University of Washington.
Alan Searleman, a professor of psychology at St. Lawrence University in New York, said in Psychology Today, “While people can improve their recall through tricks and practice, eidetikers are born, not made.”
So, take heart if you find out that you are like the vast majority of us and need to still rely upon your camera for photographic memories!