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It's called eidetic memory

Jonas Kaplan nesta at umich.edu
Mon Feb 26 22:26:27 EST 1996

Shan Bentz (s_bentz at hamlet.uncg.edu) wrote:
: Well, the phenomenon is called eidetic memory; there's a great book by 
: some guy, last name of LURIA.  It's called _The Mind of a Mnemonist_ or 
: something like that...  As far as neuroanatomy is concerned, I don't know 
: of any specific research being done; I doubt, however, that there is a 
: profound dearth of research on the topic.  

I'm not sure Luria's mnemonist is a good example of what this person
probably means by "photographic memory".  The man described by Luria
experienced almost everything synesthetically, and thus remembered
his experiences vividly in terms of visual images, sounds, and 
smells. These symptoms pervaded not only his memory, but his 
perception. There was supposedly no limit found to what he could remember.
It seems to me that this sort of case is very, very, rare, as opposed
to the presumably more frequent ability of some people to accurately
remember detailed visual images. The latter is probably a better 
description of "photographic memory" as the phrase is commonly used.

Jonas Kaplan
nesta at umich.edu

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