Superior Autobiographical Memory


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April 25, 2012:
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How many people have superior autobiographical memory?

Amazing recall based on dates and details.

Superior Autobiographical Memory, also called hyperthymesia, is the ability to remember specific details about dates in one's life. Only 12 people are known to have this talent, which gives them an ability to recall, with accuracy, what they did, who they met, and what they saw on a particular day. This ability is usually tested by taking a random date in a person's life, researching where they were and what they did (either through diaries or public records, or other data like family albums) and then asking them about that particular day and time. Another way of testing this is to use newspaper accounts of weather in one's hometown and ask for a recollection of weather conditions on a certain day. For instance, a thunderstorm, hailstorm, or windy day would be recalled if you asked a person with hyperthymesia about the day's weathe. You could also find old school lunch menus and ask a person what was served that day. People exhibiting superior autobiographical memory are able to compare similar events, (including days that it rained), days they visited with certain people, or days they were in a certain city. One negative aspect associated with Superior Autobiographical Memory seems to involve difficulty with long term relationships, given that partners may have difficulty dealing with someone who is always correct and remembers everything a little too perfectly.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: There are different kinds of memory, so you may have a slightly different ability to remember details or things that are forgotten by most people.