Many people wish that they had an eidetic or photographic memory. It would be nice to be able to remember everything that we saw that was important automatically, even if eidetic memory is more realistic. Photographic memory is rarer compared to eidetic memory overall. There have been many studies into people who claim to have a photographic memory. Some of the most famous people to have impressive memories include Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla, and Teddy Roosevelt. The ability to have a photographic memory has been linked to high intelligence.
Everyone has use of eidetic memory to a degree. Eidetic memory is the ability to see an object soon after you look away. For most people, the image lasts mere seconds or less than one second. To get an idea of how well your brain makes use of eidetic memory, look at an object and close your eyes, and see how long you can still see the object in your mind's eye.
Eidetic memory is controlled primarily by the posterior parietal cortex of the parietal lobe of the brain. This is the part of the brain through which visual stimuli are processed, and images retained. For most people, these images are only retained for a few short seconds before being discarded, or information relayed to the short-term memory. You can learn more about the different types of memory in online therapy.
There is a definite difference between eidetic and photographic memory. Everyone has an eidetic memory. However, this memory lasts less than one second for most people, and no more than a few seconds for others. Photographic memory is the ability to recall an image for a much longer period.
Few people have a truly photographic memory. Even people with a photographic memory may not retain these memories for a long period. Most photographic memories only last a few months at most, as they are not relayed to long-term memory. With a photographic memory, the eidetic memory is transferred to the short-term memory banks for storage, allowing it to be recalled much later.
There has been quite a bit of debate in research and psychology circles about the existence of photographic memory. Many researchers believe that such a thing is not possible. They argue that people who remember things clearly for a long period are using the more normal memory enhancements of association or chunking. They believe that people do not see the image in their mind's eyes long after the event.
In truth, there is no evidence that photographic memory is possible. However, researchers are still studying the matter, as there are people who claim to have this ability. In the end, the only person who can say definitively whether or not they can see the image in their mind's eye is the person in question.
There has also been much debate about what might make photographic memory possible. One group of researchers studied the memoirs and histories of several people, including Darwin, who claimed to have photographic memories. Their studies led to the conclusion that the ability of photographic memory is directly related to intelligence.
However, another study done about eidetic memory had opposite results. The researchers tested three groups of people of varying intelligence. The group with high intelligence and the group with average intelligence did not show any ability to retain images for more than a few seconds. However, the group of cognitively impaired subjects was able to remember the images long after the event.
Eidetic memory is a temporary form of short-term memory. When you visually see something, it goes into your eidetic memory for seconds before being either discarded or relayed to short-term memory. Once in short-term memory, it may be recalled for days, weeks, or months when it will be discarded or relayed to long-term memory.
Typically when information is relayed from eidetic memory to short-term memory, it is relayed as information rather than an actual picture that you can see in your mind's eye. For example, you see your keys on the counter in passing, and later think that you need to find your keys. You remember from your short-term memory that you saw them on the counter, but you wouldn't be able to picture them there as clearly as though you were looking at them.
Photogenic memory works much differently. With a photographic memory, the image of the object is preserved in short-term or long-term memory. The person who has a photographic memory can close their eyes and see the object in their mind's eye just as clearly as if they had taken a photograph, even days or weeks after they saw the object. This type of memory is very rare, and difficult to prove.
Many people would love to have a photographic memory. Not everyone is capable of getting a photographic memory. However, there are some things you can do to improve your memory in general. There are also a few methods for training your mind to take and store those mental photographs for future use.
Improving General Memory
One of the best things you can do to get a photographic memory is to improve your memory in general. There are several ways that you can do this. The best thing you can do to improve memory keeps your mind active. Doing crossword puzzles and other mind games will greatly help you train your mind to remember facts and figures, and eventually perhaps pictures.
One way to improve memory is to train the mind to associate new information or images with other images or previously known information. Associations can be used to remember nearly anything, and it is a surefire way to make sure that you remember something for longer than a few moments. Using associations or chunking information in the memory can greatly improve your recall ability.
The Military Method
There is a method of going around for getting a photographic memory called the military method. It is said that the military uses this method to train operatives to have a photographic memory. While there is no real evidence as to whether or not it is true, some people have had some success in improving memory with this method.
You will repeat this process until you remember every word in correct order of the paragraph. Doing this exercise for about fifteen minutes per day every day for a month should help you improve your photographic memory. If you are unable to remember the entire paragraph after a month, you should have at least managed to memorize a portion of it and improve your general memory.
Practice With Cards and Objects
Memorizing a deck of cards or a group of objects like dominos can help you improve your memory and train your mind to remember what it sees. Take a deck of cards such as UNO cards or playing cards, and choose three cards randomly. Memorize the cards, put them back in the deck, shuffle, and find the cards you memorized, putting them in the order they were in when you memorized them. Each day you are successful add more cards until you can do the entire deck. You can do the same thing with dominos or other objects that are similar but different in some way. You simply draw a few in a particular order, memorize them in that order, and try to recreate them again and again, each time with more dominos or objects.
Learn To Focus And Eliminate Distractions
Several studies also point to choline as a memory booster. You can find choline in egg yolks, so eating a daily dose of hardboiled or fried eggs can greatly help you boost your short-term memory capacity. A high protein diet has also been linked to good memory. Finally, luteolin has been found to improve short-term memory. You can find that nutrient in celery.
If you find that you are losing your memory or having a very difficult time remembering things in general, you might need to seek out professional help. All of the practice in the world will not allow you to develop a photographic memory if you have a medical condition or disorder that affects your memory. If you find that you simply cannot remember things like you used to, visit a psychologist for a memory test and further diagnosis.
Additional Information About Eidetic Memory In People
Experts agree that everyone can access eidetic memory to some degree. Eidetic memory's definition is the ability for a person to "see" an object a few seconds after looking away. Most people report that this experience lasts only a few seconds — or sometimes even less than one second. You can note exactly how well your brain can access eidetic memory by looking at an object, closing your eyes, and then observing just how long you can still see the object in your brain or memory. This specific type of memory is controlled mostly by the posterior parietal cortex of the parietal lobe in the brain. It is different from photographic memory because it's not a complete photo or image of an object that lasts beyond a few fleeting seconds.
Are you interested in learning more about your memory and ways you can strengthen it? A licensed therapist may be able to help. You can begin online therapy with BetterHelp and set goals for yourself, whether they relate to memory, anxiety, stress, or other mental health challenges. Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things.