Do you want to remember everything you come across like a photograph – once clicked, it stays the same, forever? Won’t it be like a dream come true?
People have claimed to have photographic memory in the past, we’ve seen it in movies and might have experienced it sometimes in our interactions with others too.
But, what is photographic memory?
Photographic memory refers to an ability to remember everything exactly as seen, without making an effort.
Everyone in their lifetime, at one point or another, wished to have a photographic memory.
‘What if I could retain all the information in the book just by skimming?’ must have come to your mind at least once in your life.
Science has repeatedly argued that nothing such as photographic memory exists. But, on the other hand, scientists have not done extensive studies on the people who have exceptional memories.
Research on photographic memory is severely limited. Hence, we cannot come to the direct conclusion that photographic memory does not exist.
In his book, Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla, Mr. O’Neill described the life events of Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla himself states that he could see the image vividly in front of his vision. He used to pass his hands through the images to see if they were real. But they were fixed in space.
The above example of Nikola Tesla clearly states that photographic memory can exist but it is rare.
Is it Possible to have a Photographic Memory?
Either you are born with photographic memory or you are not!
Science has repeatedly refused to accept that things like photographic memory exist.
Due to lack of evidence, the concept of photographic memory is rejected. However, there are people with a condition called hyperthymesia.
Hyperthymesia is a condition that leads people to remember everything that happened in their life vividly. Hyperthymesia is extremely rare. Currently, only 60 people with Hyperthymesia are alive.
One such example is Jill Price. Jill Price is one of the women to be diagnosed with hyperthymesia. She can recall every detail of her life from the age of 14. Jill says it is like an automatic and continuous replay of everything that happened in her life. It is like she is watching a movie.
What is Eidetic Memory?
The official term for photographic memory is eidetic memory. Eidetic memory refers to the ability to capture visual images momentarily.
People with eidetic memory can remember every detail of something they have just seen. Several minutes after seeing the visual image, they can remember it in their mind’s eye.
Although having an eidetic memory is not in our control. Our brain is a powerful and flexible machine. You can always work to develop a better Memory.
Eidetic memory can be used for various purposes such as learning for exams, remembering the most cherished moments of our life, and so on.
Important Things to Know about Eidetic Memory
- Eidetic memory is rare if it exists.
- Studies show eidetic memory is found more in children rather than adults. It exists in 2-10% of children aged 6 to 12.
- Eidetic memory can be developed through simple memory techniques
Do you want to know if you have Eidetic Memory or Not? You can take a test here.
How to Get an Eidetic Memory?
Visualization is a powerful tool to increase memory retention. It is much easier to remember details from the pictures rather than remembering details from books or lectures.
Close your eyes. Visualize the things you want to learn or remember. Take note of every detail in the image or the scene. Rinse and Repeat. (Link to blog 1)
2. Write it down
Seriously! Write it down.
When you write by hand, you use the combinations of fine motor skills, perception, and visuals. Doing this reinforces the natural learning process.
You boost your brain’s encoding process by writing. The encoding process means sending the information to an area of the brain called hippocampus. Hippocampus decides whether to store the memory for the short term or long term.
Thus, writing by hand increases the chances of storing the memory for the long term.
3. Become a Busy Bee
Yes. You read it correctly. Become a busy bee. According to a study by Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, there is a connection between cognitive functions and busyness.
The study shows that busy people who were occupied all day have the greatest episodic memory. As compared to those who were not so busy.
Episodic memory is remembering past events like time and place. So this memory applies to everyday life. Episodic memory is similar to eidetic memory.
4. Develop Speed Reading
Tim Ferris, the author of the popular book, ‘ 4-Hour Work Week’ teaches how to develop speed reading. One of the benefits of this technique does not only do you read at a much faster rate, but you also retain the information for a long time. This technique saves both time and effort.
Speed reading is beneficial for those who lack time and want to gain information as fast as possible.
For example, A CEO does not have time in his hand. He can use the speed reading technique to go through stacks of pages at a high speed. You can find the technique on his blog.
5. Increase Choline in your Diet
Take a note. Increase Choline, not ‘Chlorine’ intake.
Choline is an essential nutrient. It is crucial to produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in memory regulation, mood, and intelligence.
According to a study, choline is needed in a process to synthesize DNA. It is critical for brain functions and development. Thus, it is not surprising that choline intake is associated with improved memory.
You can fulfill your dietary requirement of choline by adding eggs, sunflower oil, beef liver and salmon to your diet.
6. Take a Break and Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
If you are a college student with a large stack of books that need to be memorized, you need to hear this.
It might be tempting to absorb every information as fast as possible in one go. Stop right there.
According to a UCLA study, cramming everything as fast as possible will degrade memory rapidly. Instead, space your learning schedule. Want to complete a book? Maybe space it over a month or a week.
Then revise the concept you learned during the previous schedule. This will create a long-term memory that will help you remember things years later.
The spacing technique is especially beneficial for professionals who need the information studied in college long after graduating.
How Would Eidetic Memory Help You in Studies and Professional Life?
Eidetic memory can do wonders for students and professionals. As a student, eidetic memory can help you remember things quickly during the exam. Thus, increasing your grades.
Professionals such as law practitioners, CFA’s, or highly technical experts need the information learned in college during their career life.
A lawyer needs to keep revising laws to draft case papers. A CFA professional needs to revise the concepts of accountancy. In such cases, eidetic memory will drastically lessen the amount of time required for going back and forth the books. Simply because it is all stored in your mind in long-term memory.
Does Magnus Carlen have photographic memory?
Although Magnus Carlsen believes he has photographic memory, there is no proof. In an interview, he said that he has memorized over 10,000 games and has trained his mind to play chess without even trying.
Can someone train their mind to get photographic memory?
The human brain is super flexible. The more you learn, the more it grows. You can train your mind to have exceptional memory by consistently practicing new learning techniques such as visualization, playing brain games, eating foods rich in choline, and so on.
How does photographic memory work?
A person with photographic memory can clearly remember every detail of the event or an image without making an effort.
Do people with photographic memory exist?
Nikola Tesla is believed to have photographic memory.
How do I get photographic memory?
Studies on photographic memory are still limited. However, you can train your mind to increase memory retention. Techniques like speed reading, visualization, notes taking are great ways to increase memory retention.
The human brain is a super powerful machine. Due to its flexibility and power, you can always increase your memory retention.
Using the above techniques you can improve your memory and perform better in life. No matter if you are a student, professional, or even a non-working person.
Having a strong memory is solely not the factor of genetics. By consistent efforts, you can increase your memory and brain power.
If you would like to receive techniques on boosting your memory, sign up for our newsletter. And if you want more advanced tips, Farrow Memory Method is your best bet. Happy Learning!