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Many people doubt the existence of photographic memory, but what actually is it? Photographic memory is said to be a skill where a person can remember and describe images and sounds in very accurate ways. It describes memory systems that give an exact picture of what was seen or heard. Imagine being able to take a snapshot in your mind and store that information. Think of the attention to detail that would exist.
Photographic memory is also known as eidetic memory. It is a skill that some children seem to have, but it fades in adulthood. The assumption is that people with photographic memory store information differently than others. It is compared to being able to examine a photograph in your mind.
Is photographic memory a good thing? Students often wish they had that skill when studying for exams, but is it really all that it’s cracked up to be? Imagine all of the data that gets thrown at us in one day (or even one hour). Our brains have skills to filter that information and only store what we need in long-term memory. What if that filter doesn’t filter? Imagine how overwhelming it can be to have your mind cluttered with so many images, sounds and experiences. Perhaps a photographic memory is more of a handicap than a gift. It can make it difficult to process and use the information and can reduce your memory recall skills.
The debate will go on about whether or not photographic memory exists as we picture it. Students will continue to wish they had the skill. For those who say they have photographic memory, they will continue to impress others with their skills of memory recall. Whether or not you believe it exists, one thing is clear: some people are blessed with extraordinary memory skills.Back to articles