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Photographic Memory – Fact or Fiction?

by SmartBrainTips
Photographic Memory Fact of Fiction

It’s deaf time of the night, a lamp lit on the table and hundreds of printed pages to learn until the tomorrow’s exam … It sounds impossible, but not failing an exam is enough motivation to start remembering like a hard drive. Or, massive amount of written material to be read by tomorrow’s important meeting, after which we may get a promotion! At that moment, we start looking in all of that material and just think ‘’If we could just look at the page and remember all the stuff on it.’’ Stop! That’s not impossible, at least that’s what some people say.

There are people who claim to be able to do just that and this phenomenon is called “photographic memory”. Find out if this modern power really exists or if our brains play with us, find out in our article…

Remmebering 80,000 numbers!

A charismatic sixty-seven-year-old Akira Haraguchi originally from Japan, was deservedly in the Guinness World Book Record after shockingly to everyone memorizing 83.431 decimals of the Pi number (π). Yes more than eighty three thousand decimals! This guy is the one responsible for raising the dust in the world of neuroscience and understanding of “photographic memory”.

This phenomenon (Photographic memory) is best defined as a term that serves to explain and describe individuals who, at first glance seem fully capable of recalling visual formation in memory, fascinatingly detailed, just like they looking at a particular image from an album.

In the same way as photography serves to permanently “freeze” a certain moment in a continuous timeline it is believed that some people are able to take photographs with their minds, and to bring them to life whenever they want.

However, there are more and more scholars who argue that memory in this form simply does not exist, but that the very concept of – eidetic memory, as this phenomenon is scientifically called is one of the greatest misconceptions about human memory.

The word -eidetic- refers to an extraordinarily detailed and crystal clear memory, and the root of the word is in Greek, and is derived from the word -eidos-, which can be translated as “seen.”

We can freely say that human memory is more like a big puzzle with many pieces than a single photo. In order to remember something it is necessary to assemble different parts of events that we have stored in memory, while inevitably, there are those that we simply forget.

Therefore, we remember the essence of the conversation, but not every spoken word. Or, we remember the color of the wall of the room we were in, and we remember the picture on the wall, but not the very subject of the picture.

While scientists are trying to come up with a unified view of whether photographic memory as such exists or not. And if it does exist, how does it work. Here is one really fascinating piece of evidence that the ability to remember is indeed an undivided power.

A man named Stephen Wiltshire looked at a panorama of the city on one visit to Rome, and based on that one look, drew a breathtaking panoramic drawing. He worked by the memory of that sight, without any reminder. Because of what he did, he was nicknamed the “human camera”.

Most of the current controversial claims, phenomena, and situations related to the topic of photographic memory, have arisen from the overuse of this term for anything that can relate to examples of extraordinary human memory.
History has remembered many names, such as Nikola Tesla, Leonardo Da Vinchi, Claud Monet and Theodore Roosevelt, who are said to have had a memory that went far beyond average. Yet, it is impossible to confirm that they had a memory like a camera.

Memory is, in fact, one of the most complex processes that scientists have failed to “pinpoint” to date, but here’s what they know for sure. When a person experiences a situation, a part of the brain called -hipocampus- (hippocampus), which serves to connect short-term and long-term memory, as well as the frontal cortex, or frontal lobe, serve to decide what is worth remembering. Fragments of memorized details are found in different places in the brain, but they merge when needed when we try to think of something. Not every detail can be remembered, because the brain “catalogs” only what it considers important.

The gentleman the Rain Man is inspired by is named Kim Peek. And he impressed the public with the claim that he remembers every page he read, literally every book he read. He stated his collection is about 9,000 finished books. Although the claim has not been rigorously verified, it is believed that this is one of the most extreme examples of memory that is more accurate and extensive than in the vast majority of the world’s population.

Chary on top

The information, which perhaps best describes the entire complex topic discussed here. By some calculations and detailed examinations, the man who had the best memory since the beginning of human history was a Russian named Solomon Shereshevsky. He was a journalist by profession, who never took notes because he was able to memorize virtually every word from someone’s interview. ‘’That is absolutely incredible!’’ were the words of a scientist Alexander Luria who had studied Shereshevsky for almost 30 years. As a conclusion of the research, Luria stated that he remembered the Russian flawlessly thanks to mnemonic technics, not photographic memory.


Also, if you are interested in boosting other brain abilities, you should check out ”ELECTRICITY CAN BOOST YOUR BRAIN” , ‘3 SIMPLE EXERCISES TO BOOST YOUR CONCENTRATION”, ”How to Build Your Focus Using Simple Techniques

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