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Thread: Total Recall

  1. #1

    Total Recall

    http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quark...mber-this.html

    Remember This

    Joshua Foer in National Geographic:

    There is a 41-year-old woman, an administrative assistant from California known in the medical literature only as "AJ," who remembers almost every day of her life since age 11. There is an 85-year-old man, a retired lab technician called "EP," who remembers only his most recent thought. She might have the best memory in the world. He could very well have the worst.

    "My memory flows like a movie—nonstop and uncontrollable," says AJ. She remembers that at 12:34 p.m. on Sunday, August 3, 1986, a young man she had a crush on called her on the telephone. She remembers what happened on Murphy Brown on December 12, 1988. And she remembers that on March 28, 1992, she had lunch with her father at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She remembers world events and trips to the grocery store, the weather and her emotions. Virtually every day is there. She's not easily stumped.

    There have been a handful of people over the years with uncommonly good memories. Kim Peek, the 56-year-old savant who inspired the movie Rain Man, is said to have memorized nearly 12,000 books (he reads a page in 8 to 10 seconds). "S," a Russian journalist studied for three decades by the Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria, could remember impossibly long strings of words, numbers, and nonsense syllables years after he'd first heard them. But AJ is unique. Her extraordinary memory is not for facts or figures, but for her own life. Indeed, her inexhaustible memory for autobiographical details is so unprecedented and so poorly understood that James McGaugh, Elizabeth Parker, and Larry Cahill, the neuroscientists at the University of California, Irvine who have been studying her for the past seven years, had to coin a new medical term to describe her condition: hyperthymestic syndrome.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ChesBay's Avatar
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    fascinating

  3. #3
    its the opposite of me wwhere i have crs -cant remember xhit
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  4. #4
    That must be hell for her husband when they fight.
    If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


    Sometimes it is easier to widen doors than it is to open minds.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by addiesue
    That must be hell for her husband when they fight.
    She's got no edge; don't all women have that ability for anything they can use in a fight with their husbands?
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  6. #6
    Senior Member Wesley's Avatar
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    the entire article is an interesting read because it's not clear that this woman's ability is simply a matter of having a better memory. The article talks about humanity's traditional emphasis on memory as a sign of intelligence and lists some pretty incredible feats of memory by historic figures. Before writing and printing were convenient, memorization was the only way to retain knowledge. One scientist proposes that this woman may be driven more by an extraordinary interest in preserving past memories than any special ability to memorize. She denies that, but she also is an avid collector of videos and photographs of events and TV shows relevant to her memories. It's hard to understand why someone with perfect recall would want to watch reruns.

    The article reinforced my old fogey notion that modern education has overemphasized conceptual thought at the expense of rote learning. Memorization is a skill that is important for children to learn, IMO.
    Last edited by Wesley; 08-08-2008 at 05:13 PM.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wesley
    the entire article is an interesting read because it's not clear that this woman's ability is simply a matter of having a better memory. The article talks about humanity's traditional emphasis on memory as a sign of intelligence and lists some pretty incredible feats of memory by historic figures. Before writing and printing were convenient, memorization was the only way to retain knowledge. One scientist proposes that this woman may be driven more by an extraordinary interest in preserving past memories than any special ability to memorize. She denies that, but she also is an avid collector of videos and photographs of events and TV shows relevant to her memories. It's hard to understand why someone with perfect recall would want to watch reruns.

    The article reinforced my old fogey notion that modern education has overemphasized conceptual thought at the expense of rote learning. Memorization is a skill that is important for children to learn, IMO.
    I wonder if it's hereditary. My Dad and I can remember amazing numbers years afterwards like phone numbers, when he left the Navy and it was a Friday because his real date fell on a Sunday. Mine was a Saturday so I left on a Friday also. I can remember phone numbers I haven't called in 20 years. Just have problems if someone changes theirs.

    My physiatrist can remember the last 4 numbers of his patient's SSNs and our phone numbers. He and I discussed if we remember the phone number or where the numbers are on the phone.

    Yea, I can remember restaurants, places and even how to get to places decades later. But because the spousal unit is not so gifted I chose to get married on Thanksgiving so he only had to remember that and not the actual day. The day I was injured and he filled in the admittance form I became 3 years younger. LOL
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  8. #8
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    'Guys', the gift of memorization is overrated, as is made clear in wiki's blurb on Kim Peek, aka "the Rain Man". Peek does poorly on standardized intelligence tests - although he has improved some with that and his socialization.

    The popularity/celebrity he gained from association to the movie's character has 'brought him out' and given him enough more confidence that he's both smarter and a more socialized character.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  9. #9
    what IS the point of making elementary kids memorize state capitols? never figured that out.

  10. #10
    I was in a college chemistry class and the Prof. made us memorize the periodic chart! You talk about redundant Bull $h1+.

    The genius professor thought Einstein won the nobel prize for E=mc^2. Too bad Albert could not have won the nobel prize a second time for the famous equation.

    I thought I was the bigger Id10T.

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