(Big Ben on a rainy evening in London, drawn entirely on the basis of memory by Stephen Wiltshire.)
In this project, I researched on eidetic memory, and from now on, I will show the full quote from Wikipedia and society of Neuroscience.
“Photographic memory is a term often used to describe a person who seems able to recall visual information in great detail. Just as a photograph freezes a moment in time, the implication for people thought to have photographic memory is that they can take mental snapshots and then recall these snapshots without error. However, photographic memory does not exist in this sense. ” (From Society of NEUROSCIENCE)
“Eidetic images are available only for a small percentage of children aged between six and twelve and are virtually nonexistent for adults. Extensive research, however, has failed to demonstrate consistent correlations between the presence of eidetic imagery and any cognitive, intellectual, neurological or emotional measure.” (From Wikipedia)
“It is easy to demonstrate this by asking people who think they have photographic memory to read two or three lines of text and then report the text in reverse order. If memory worked like a photograph, these people would be able to rapidly reproduce the text in reverse order by “reading” the photo. However, people cannot do this.” (From Society of NEUROSCIENCE)
“Memory is more like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle than a photograph. To recollect a past event, we piece together various remembered elements and typically forget parts of what happened (the color of the wall, the picture in the background, the exact words that were said). Passing over details helps us to form general concepts. We are good at remembering the gist of what happened and less good at remembering (photographically) all the elements of a past scene. This is advantageous because what is important for memory is the meaning of what was presented, not the exact details present at any given time.” (From Society of NEUROSCIENCE)
However, there are skeptical ideas about eidetic memory…
“The American cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky, in his book The Society of Mind (1988), considered reports of photographic memory to be an “unfounded myth.”
An example of extraordinary memory abilities being ascribed to photographic memory comes from the popular interpretations of Adriaan de Groot’s classic experiments into the ability of chess grandmasters to memorize complex positions of chess pieces on a chess board. Initially it was found that these experts could recall surprising amounts of information, far more than nonexperts, suggesting eidetic skills. However, when the experts were presented with arrangements of chess pieces that could never occur in a game, their recall was no better than the nonexperts, suggesting that they had developed an ability to organize certain types of information, rather than possessing innate eidetic ability.
Scientific skepticism about the existence of photographic memory was fueled around 1970 by Charles Stromeyer, who studied his future wife, Elizabeth, who claimed that she could recall poetry written in a foreign language that she did not understand years after she had first seen the poem. She also could, apparently, recall random dot patterns with such fidelity as to combine two patterns into a stereoscopic image. She remains the only person documented to have passed such a test. However, the methodology of the testing procedures used is questionable (especially given the extraordinary nature of the claims being made) as is the fact that the researcher married his subject, and that the tests have never been repeated (Elizabeth has consistently refused to repeat them) raises further concerns.” (From Wikipedia)
Even though some people say that the eidetic memory exists in real life, I don’t think that exists, because even though Mr Stromeyer’s wife claimed that she could recall the poem written in unknown language and combine these dots, maybe it’s not real, and maybe she just lied (?). Also, other quote that I can say that is that even though the top chess player in the world still couldn’t recall the positions of the chess pieces, while they were able to recall the possible positions, they couldn’t recall the impossible positions. In my opinion, top chess players should be able to recall the positions of pieces even though it wouldn’t occur in real life. Also, I think that even though the woman has extraordinary memory ability, it’s almost impossible to memorise the image in very short time with high detail, and recall it quickly. Also, there is no evidence of it existing either. That’s why I disagree with the thought of eidetic memory exists in real life. To prove that eidetic memory exists, I think that the researchers should experiment 1000 people in the same way they did to Mrs Stromeyer. I think that if more than 50 people managed to recall the information, this means that the eidetic memory exists, then the there would be huge surprise to researchers who believes that the eidetic memory exists. And also, it would be even more reliable if researcher managed to find the way that phenomenon works in brain, and even though it didn’t work, the result would be better and everyone would be convinced if they proved why it didn’t work.
Larry, Squire. “Is Photographic Memory Real? If So, How Does It Work?” Ask an Expert. SOCIETY for NEUROSCIENCE, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 4 May 2015.
Eidetic memory is a term often used to describe some people who are able to recall visual information in great detail. As a photograph freezes a moment in time, the implication for people thought to have photographic memory is that they can take mental snapshots and then recall them without any error. However, eidetic memory doesn’t exist in 5 senses. Quite rare children between approximately six and twelve years old have eidetic memory, but normally that phenomenon wouldn’t exist when they became adults. However, some adults have phenomenal memories (doesn’t have to be only images), they aren’t able to recall them back and draw in high detail.
Of course many people can memorise the texts and write them in the piece of paper. Also, if that memory worked for a photograph, it would be so much easier to show the audience how did it looked like and to prove about things that happened, but unfortunately people aren’t able to do this, which means they have to write a long essay to explain how did it feel and look like.
Normally, memory is like pieces of jigsaw puzzle rather than photograph. To recall the past event, we put pieces of information about events, for example emotion you felt, and where you were etc. We are good at remembering the point of what happened and less good at remembering everything of a past event. This is advantageous because the important part for memory is the meaning of what was presented, not the exact details present at any given time.
However, there are also some skeptical ideas about eidetic memory. The American cognitive scientist, Marvin Minsky, said that reports of photographic memory to be an “unfounded myth.” An example of extraordinary memory abilities ascribed to photographic memory is from Adriaan de Groot (famous Dutch chess player)’s experiments into the ability of chess grandmasters to memorise complex positions of chess pieces on a chess board. Initially many scientist thought that the experts could recall surprising amounts of information, far more than non-experts, suggesting that this occurs because of eidetic memories. However, when the experts were presented with arrangements of chess pieces that could never occur in a game, their recall wasn’t better than the non-experts, suggesting that they had developed an ability to organise certain types of information, rather than possessing natural eidetic memories.
For me, I think that the eidetic memory exists in real life, because even though the chess players couldn’t recall the impossible positions of the game, some drawers still can draw a drawings of moments they saw in real life. However, it’s still a shame that normally this phenomenon wouldn’t exist any more when people became adult. However, I want the research team to test whether the adults don’t have eidetic skill and prove why, so that more people would be convinced. In this way, I learnt that the proving is the best way to convince people, and without proving, there might be argument and fighting. So that the proving and convincing is the most peaceful way to end the argument.
– “Eidetic Memory.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 5 May 2015. Web. 06 May 2015.
– Larry, Squire. “Is Photographic Memory Real? If So, How Does It Work?” Ask an Expert. SOCIETY for NEURONSCIENCE, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 4 May 2015.