Photographic Memory – Is There Such A Thing?

So is there such a  thing as a photographic memory?

Many of the people I speak to would love to have the ability to see something once and then remember it for the rest of their days.

The ability to be able to absorb everything that we have ever read, every conversation we have ever had and everything we have ever seen or experienced seems to be the Nirvana of memory improvement.

And to be able to do that effortlessly would make our lives so much easier.

I am sure you have heard of people who have that ability and have marvelled at their achievements.

My late step-fathers mother was able to recall the weather from any day in her life from the age of about 3 (which is when she had her earliest memory).

Now unless you are a meteorological historian, that is hardly a useful skill to have however it is still a feat to be admired and indeed respected.

So how is it that some people can have that ability and most of the rest of us cant?

Well there is an assumption in that statement that it is an acquired ability – you either have it or you don’t.

I personally believe that we all have a photographic memory, what we don’t have is perfect recall.

There are a number of accounts of people exhibiting out of character photographic memory abilities under extreme conditions.

One story I read told of a woman who was having a particular form of brain surgery that required her to be conscious throughout the procedure.

The surgeon accidentally touched a part of her brain that was not being operated on and the woman suddenly had a rush of sensations and memories from a time when she was a small girl.

The experience was so vivid across all of her senses that it felt to her that she was actually reliving that particular moment as though she was there again.

Probably the more popular stories regarding photographic memory are those told of people recalling events from the past whilst under hypnosis.

Taking that one stage further, I have even heard of people being given a book, asked to flick through it so that they at least “see” every page and then under hypnosis being able to recall the entire contents word for word.

So I think that it is safe to conclude that it is just possible our amazing brain might store absolutely everything.

So why can’t we access it all then?

That is probably the million dollar question.

However, whilst we might not suddenly be able to develop that ability of recalling EVERYTHING, we can develop our skills to the point where we can remember things that are important to us.

Memory development techniques, of which I am an exponent, can be used to produce seemingly remarkable feats of memory.

I say they are remarkable because by comparison to what is considered “normal” they are indeed amazing.

But the key thing is to have absolute clarity on what it is you want to remember and then use a technique appropriate to that.

But aside from that, are there any things we can do to get closer to having a photographic memory?

Well often the desire to have such a thing comes around when your memory has let you down in some way.

So one thing we can do is look at the causes of the so called “memory failure” because often it is nothing to do with memory at all.

Often it is the fact that we were not concentrating (see my last post about short term memory loss).

So perhaps being more in the moment is one way of getting towards having a perfect memory.

There are other things we can do too that are related to our diet and exercise regimes, how much we use our memory and stimulate our minds and of course what we believe about our memory’s ability.

However I would question whether we really need to get to the level of a perfect photographic memory.

Do you have any experiences of either having or wanting a photographic memory?

If so add a comment to this post to let me know your experiences.