Talk:Eidetic memory

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Excessive use of Thesaurus[edit]

At the very beginning of the article the word ‘confounded’ is used where ‘confused’ would have been better. I just managed to dismiss this with only mild irritation and the conclusion that it looked like an undergraduate philosophy student trying to wedge as many big words into their essay as possible, but only managing to mangle the meaning of their writings. Then, at the end of that first paragraph the word ‘conflated’ appears where again ‘confused’ should have been used. Two in one paragraph? I think the author pulled a Rowling here (where Rowling means ‘writes with auto-thesaurus-swap turned on’).

There might have been more examples but I couldn’t bring myself to carry on reading a thesaurus-mangled article like this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:10, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Cal Ripken and Rollins[edit]

The article tagged as a citation for Ripken and Rollins only mentions Ripken once and not in association with memory, only describes Rollins, in passing as having a "near-photographic memory," which may, as it was not supported with anything other than anecdotal stories, be more of a journalistic flourish than an actual assertion. I propose removing the reference or citing further references. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

-- (talk) 20:00, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Since no one has objected or commented, I'm going to go ahead and remove that sentence.-- (talk) 18:56, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Extraordinary Claim[edit]

I'm calling bullshit on this one: "Andriy Slyusarchuk, 34 years old Ukrainian professor from Lviv, who achieved a new world record (on 28.02.2006) after having memorized five thousand one hundred numbers in a two minutes flat.[15][16]."

If they were single digit numbers, he would have had to read 42.5 characters per second. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

- That might be possible considering the description - he didn't have to remember the numbers, he remembered what the page looked like. He later recalled and read the page from his memory as if the page were there. (talk) 12:53, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I thought everyone could do that. Can't they? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, you're reading into it. It never said that he memorized the numbers on the page like a picture, it just says that he memorized 5,100 words in 117 seconds; it didn't get into his methodology. I'm agreeing with the initial comment of "bullshit" not so much just based on the difficulty of memorizing 5,100 words in 117 seconds, but also cause none of the sources and citations are independent peer reviewed internationally recognized organizations, infact, none of them even seem to come from outside the Ukraine (the claims very well may be true, but they need to be independently verified); certainly, he seems a big name in the Ukraine. One of his citations is purely a blurb on a Lviv city website, with no academic or technical information or objective evidence presented. Other of his sources are in Ukrainian and frankly, I have no idea what they say. In the end, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Additionally, the information from his own Wikipedia page starts to sound alittle fishy, like psychic and mindreading fishy; these claims, without extraordinary evidence, cast a pseudoscientific pall on his eidetic memory claims. Read from his Wikipedia page:
Mr. Slyusarchuk is known for his hypnotic skills as well. He demonstrated the ability to read and control the thoughts of another person in many ways, including:
   * he was able to correctly spell out the number of mobile phone of a person based on reading the person's thoughts
   * he had demonstrated driving a car throughout a complex route with his eyes blinded, based on reading the thoughts (visual perception) of another person inside the car
   * he hypnotized a man so he did not feel any pain when taking a glass of boiling water right from the heating fire. The camera showed man's hand after that. It was all white because of burns. They said it would take a few weeks for it to heal. Mr. Slyusarchuk also hypnotized that man to feel no pain in the burnt hand until it fully recovers
   * he told a person to read mentally a few random sentences from a random book. Then he was able to find out from that person’s thoughts which sentences did he/she read and on which page of the book
These claims need to be further cited and evaluated or the information removed.-- (talk) 19:15, 21 October 2009 (UTC)


I heard that felix mendelssohn had this too. I have no idea where to look, but I heard an account of him hearing a complete symphony once and writing it down from memory, in the right key. thedrtaylor


I would like to see sources to back up the claim that Bill Gates has unsually good memory of his code. It just sounds like marketing fluff somehow.

Yes, I'm biased; that Monet or Mozart may have had eidetic memory is not a matter of controversy (though I think those claims should also be documented as well). However for a currently living famous person in politics or business I think the claim should be checked a little more thoroughly. (No: this isn't an "anti-microsoft bias, I'd have said the same thing the author as made the same claim of Linus Torvalds). 04:59, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)

  • Re: Monet: I'll look for a specific website later, but he painted many of the same scenes long after he became blind, remembering exactly how things were previously (the last time he was in the place in question, or the last time he painted it, I don't know.) It's tough to find a relevant entry because apparently there is a Marvel superhero named Monet who has eidetic memory as well. Furthermore, there seem to be plenty of sites mentioning Mozart in connection with eidetic memory. Take care. Rhymeless 08:50, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)
There is nothing to back up the claim that Gates has usually good memory of his code. I did a Google search, and came up with nothing. I found only copies of this and related Wikipedia articles, and speculations that Bill Gates has autism/Asperger's syndrome/eidetic memory based solely on the fact that many people with Asperger's syndrome tend to be interested in computers. I deleted this claim. Wikiwikifast 05:41, 17 Apr 2004 (UTC)
A negative Google search is inconclusive. Google does not index all human knowledge, all books, or even all websites for that matter. Many research papers require paid memberships to view. Spazquest 22:31, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I learned that Bill Gates has eidetic memory in 1984; he is the 4th person I know of with eidetic memory, 3 of them programmers, 1 a nurse. The specific statement was "he remembers huge slabs of his code", in comparison with my software manager, who also has eidetic memory. My wife would ask the nurse about health-care related questions, since her knowledge was encyclopedic. The 3rd programmer is a pianist as well, and uses his gift to remember his music for performances; I have observed that his memory is an act of will: when he chooses to remember something, he looks at it more carefully, as if he were photographing it; he can also un-remember something (cast it from his memory). Ancheta Wis 06:40, 8 May 2004 (UTC) I am not interested in defending my claim, it is a simple thing I learned 20 years ago; someone else can simply ask Bill Gates to settle this if they so desire. My specific claim is that in the 1980's, I was told that Bill Gates could remember huge slabs of the code he wrote in the 1970's. One commonality is that they were modest about their gift; it was nothing to brag about. It is possible that Bill Gates no longer remembers the 1970's code he wrote, as of 2004; the company where I learned this was not a Microsoft shop; at the time, the company used VAXes and Sun Microsystems computers running VMS and Unix.

I'm not sure I like the direction this is taking.....far more publications seem to support eidetic memory than otherwise. The inclusion of only one source, which opposes eidetic memory, seems really NPOV to me. Rhymeless 08:55, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Removed the following line:

Children often have eidetic memory, but generally lose much of that ability around age 5.

I know of no evidence that supports such a claim. Sir Paul 05:08, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

  • It's not my info, but I recall reading this somewhere.--Pharos 05:14, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps claims for eidetic memory could be considered "urban legends".

In it's current wording it sounds like it is a conclusion drawn by the submitter. If authoritive sources suggest (or better yet, believe) this, perhaps it would be better to quote them. I don't want to delete it, but at the least it should be re-worded (I can't think of a way myself as I know very little on this subject)

Many believe that autists frequently display this ability, as well as those with similar conditions like Asperger's syndrome.

This sounds like a weasel-term to me. If anyone knows of authoritive sources who believe this it would be better to quote them. --John Lynch 20:42, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I met someone twice in my life that proved to me edict memory exists but on the second occasion I did not remember the first. I know first hand how edict memory may effect people positively and negatively. After the age of five and before the age of twenty I know of a person with this gift. To that end I would say edict memory definitely exists and not always to a bad effect.

Find me by the first letter of my first name added to the last with the month followed by the day and adding yahoo.

Are there any arguments to compare this article and Visual thinking? Maybe one day they could be merged into one, any opinions?Mexaguil 07:44, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

What about that Carmen Camera girl?[edit]

Hi, for the examples of eidetic memory in literature and movies, what about that girl who used to use her photographic memory in a kids series to solve mysteries? Anybody remember her? She used to say "click" when she was storing a picture into her memory. I can't seem to remember her exact name or the name of the series, I think it was Carmen, but I'm not sure. 12:51, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

That would be the Cam Jansen Mysteries, which is listed in the article. Now say "click" so you remember her name :P GhostGirl 03:26, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

New Article[edit]

I think the confusion from this article springs from using the terms photographic memory and eidetic memory interchangeably. They are slightly different things. Check here. Also here hdstubbs

I had the same problem with it. I noticed that the German version of this entry makes the distinction, as does the recent article
--Our Bold Hero 06:13, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

That is also how I remember first learning about the concept of eidetic memory -- as I read this article I was trying to recall WHERE I read that (for a citation), but not having an exceptional memory myself I couldn't. (Ironic, huh?) The distinction as I originally read it (and as I saw in my mother) is that eidetic memories are virtually hallucinations -- seen "out there" in the world, projected often in 3-D in a room or other spatial context, or projected on a surface if the memory is inherently 2-D. Photographic memory (which I believe a childhood classmate of mine had) is visualized "in the head" -- it's more of what we think of as a picture, or "seeing something in the mind's eye".

It may be that eideticism is the result of two factors complementing each other: a photographic memory (whatever that mechanism is, and whether it's really perfect or not) and unusual abilities to visualizes in three (or more) dimensions.

My mother described the experience once this way: If she wanted to remember the German Shepherd we had when I was a child (30 or 40 years earlier), she would just project an image of Heidi lying on the rug in her (current) living room. She could then get up and "walk around" Heidi and see this 3-D image of her from any angle. Once projected, the memory image had a type of permanence -- it didn't really require her to continue making a conscious effort to imagine the dog.

She gave a similar reason for why she didn't have much interest in visiting art museums that she had been to before: "Why should I go to that trouble? I can see the paintings any time I want to."

I posited that eidetic memories might combine normal visual memory with exceptional visualization because my mother also had exceptional 3-D (and possibly more) visualization. She could project an "eidetic" image of something she imagined just as well as a memory. I saw that in action once when I was describing a Klein Bottle to her. I described how it turns in on itself and said "it would appear to intersect itself in 3 dimensions, but in 4 dimensions it doesn't". Her response, staring into the air, was, "Yes, I can see that. It's obvious." I told her she could probably have had a career as a topologist, but since her self-image was that she was "no good at math", she thought that was ridiculous and assumed that anyone studying such things could see them the same way she did.

Relevant to the "skepticism" topics: I suggested that she really should make herself available to researchers because these types of eidetic capabilities in adults are so rare, but she had no interest in that. Part of it was that I don't think in her gut she really understood just how rare the capability is, and how much understanding such capabilities might teach researchers about the workings of the brain. The other part was that she never wanted to call attention to herself or set herself up publicly as being "special". My childhood friend was similar. I can certainly understand why we never see people with those skills entering circus-like memory contests.

(Those attitudes are fairly normal, I think: consider fictional worlds like Harry Potter -- the standard human-behavior assumption is that the people who have really extraordinary capabilities will not go around showing off.)

RandySteer (talk) 20:55, 2 March 2011 (UTC)


Not sure what gives with this article - this is kind of a bad description/definition of eidetic memory. "Photographic memory" is more than a bit of a misnomer, as is the mention of remembering sounds. Watching this page, kind of a huge job at this point but might fix later. Also, whoever asked above - I don't think it's reasonable to say "most children have eidetic memories", but rather, a whole lot more children than adults demonstrate it, and it usually goes away after age 5-8. Straker 08:30, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Photographic memory should probably have its own page. This article currently interwikis to the German "Fotografisches Gedächtnis" (Photographic Memory) even though there is a seperate German article "Eidetik" (which appears to be about what this article is trying to be about). I don't know enough about the subject, so I'm leaving this note. --Grocer 08:58, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

The following edit occurred 3 July 2006. Moved edit from the top of the talk page.

There is nothing like an eidetic memory. There are memory championships with prize money, but all the winners claim to use techniques. There are computer programms to test yourself, if you have got an eidetic memory. Noone ever passed. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE THAT! I can memorize a number of 200 digits in five minutes. But I do not have an eidetic memory. Someone who has got one should be able to do that much faster? But why is there noone, who can? Expecially people like Haraguchi just use mnemonic systems! As I do! And everyone else does, who can memorize somemany digits or whatever!

Not True! Everybody else does NOT use mnemonic systems or "techniques" to remember. I, for one, have NEVER used mnemonics - because I have never been able to remember what the mnenomic stands for. Example: We learned the mnemonic "Mr. Dog" in law school as an aid to remember the Statute of Frauds. I still can't remember what the letters of MR DOG stand for; but I remember the Statute of Frauds with no trouble at all, because I memorised IT instead of memorising something to represent it. Anyway, the whole point is that people with Eidetic memory DON'T use "techniques" or "mnemonics" or anything like that; they just remember, AND they remember in great detail WITHOUT trying to do so. Speed of recall is absolutely irrelevant. On the contrary, because people with eidetic memory remember things in such great deal, it often takes them a long time to communicate everything they remember. Neither do they necessarily remember everything the first time they read it; rather, as noted, the essence of eidetic memory is that you remember things without trying to remember them. It's as though your mind is a biological DVR (or VCR, as you prefer), automatically recording everything it sees and hears, to recall on demand. This is abnormal and rare. The normal mind, by contrast, probably records everything, but limits the amount of information that can be recalled to avoid mental overload. (talk) 19:37, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

It seems a contradiction to say that you could memorize the entire Statute of Frauds, but that you were unable to memorize something much simpler - whatever MR DOG stands for. Why the difference in the ability to memorize the two things? (talk) 16:17, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Do you know Ramon Campayo? He memorizes 30 digits or so in three seconds! Yes! Just three seconds! Does he say, he has got an eidetic memory? No! He also uses technqiues!

A small counterexample: Google hyperthymestic syndrome.--Ancheta Wis 10:56, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
The ability to remember things quickly is absolutely irrelevant to eidectic memory. Ramon Campayo is able to memorise 30 digits in three seconds because he tries to memorise 30 digits in three seconds (and he succeeds). People with eidectic memory remember things without trying to memorise them; they just remember. They might memorise very quickly, they might memorise very slowly - but they don't have to make a conscious effort to memorise anything; they just remember it. (talk) 19:40, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Here is a WikiWorld comic on hyperthymesia: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2007-01-29/WikiWorld --Ancheta Wis (talk) 21:37, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

World Memory Champions[edit]

People like Dominic O'Brien, Ramón Campayo, even Harry Lorayne should be included in the list due to their skills, isn't it? Maybe not because they have explained "how they do it" ? Maybe not because they are not famous enough? Definitely O'Brien is more famous than Akira Haraguchi. I particularly like the inclusion of "Rajan Srinavasen Mahadevan - could recall lists of numbers but had normal memory in other areas". It seems quite obvious (Ockham's Razor) that this person just mastered the mnemonic Major and Link System and less more. --GTubio 10:34, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

note to self, the reference to the anime doesn't follow the parenthetical format for the character

Because I am one of this guys, I promise you that NO ONE who has ever taken part at a memory competition has a eidetic memory.-- 20:23, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, the whole photographic memory thing is likely a myth. There is nothing "photographic" about using the Major System. Let99 (talk) 02:45, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

other redirects[edit]

what about "photomemory" and also "photo memory" redirecting here?

controversy as first section?[edit]

this could look the article is biased. there are many claims and theories around photographic memory, I suggest another section as first, other than the controversy.

besides, how illogical is it to go to "controversies" when we have no idea what the whole point of the article is!


Somebody should probably get rid of that Truth about Photographic Memory link at the bottom of the article. It goes to some cheesy (and not relevant) home-improvement course, which I imagine goes against Wikipedia policy.

RE promotion[edit]

What makes it cheese and not relevant? The link is about article explaining why Photographic Memory is impossible and notice that you are talking about Photographic Memory assuming that it’s possible without knowing a thing about it.


It's not an article. It's promotional text masquerading as an article. If some of the same information was present in a more authoritative source, it might be a helpful link. As it is, it looks like it was added in hopes of generating traffic for a commercial venture. Is that the case?

Strike a balance?[edit]

I don't see why it must be removed. It is not promotional, at least not entirely. It's got some interesting points, whether or not you agree with it. There are a lot of people who believe there is no such thing as eidetic memory, remember. The description is quite POV, though. I think we can strike middle ground with an edit I did earlier, which kept the link but changed the description to say: An article arguing that photographic memory is physiologically impossible. My edit was originally deleted by someone ( who deleted a whole lot of other stuff. I've put my edit back in for now.

By the way, please remember to sign. If nothing else, I would know what to call you.

Athanatis 10:32, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

The content at said link provides no sources for its arguments, so there's no evidence the entire thing is more than the opinions of the author. Please review its final paragraph; the whole thing leads up to a sales pitch. Not the kind of content we want here at Wikipedia. --AbsolutDan (talk) 02:02, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
P.S. it appears that links to are being spammed across several WP articles (at least). --AbsolutDan (talk) 02:03, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

> The content at said link provides no sources for its arguments, so there's no evidence the entire > thing is more than the opinions of the author.

Have you read the article? I mean the entire article explains why photographic memory is impossible and it is pretty easy to test it. Just follow the instructions from it. What kind of evidence you want, some pictures from the bathroom? Anyone can try it out.

> Please review its final paragraph; the whole thing leads up to a sales pitch.

I agree that article is located on the business website but there are tons of free and very useful information, like how memory works and why photographic memory is impossible. You cannot find anything like it on other websites and I think it is a legitime source of information, because everything is explained throughly with the great details (see GMS Manual And let’s be realistic here. Check the rest of the external links – all information in there is pretty much useless and all of the websites are designed to make money, using ADS or Google AdWords…. provides tons of interesting and new information about memory and mnemonics. Alex dubasAlex_dubas

All following those instructions might prove is that the particular person performing the experiment might not have photographic memory. It doesn't disprove the possibility of someone else having photographic memory. Even if a second person thought he had p.m., and fails the test, he might simply have been mistaken about having p.m. I see no citations of any true scientific studies (or any citations for that matter), so again I see nothing of value in this link.
Also, what other links? There is no longer an External links section, as yours was the last link in it and I thus removed the section header. --AbsolutDan (talk) 04:47, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

You missed the point of the test. The test is not about possibility that you have or have not a Photographic memory. The test proofs that it is impossible physically! It proofs that the consecutive image is seen for some seconds and then gradually fades away and the consecutive image is not kept in the brain and cannot be reproduced again after it has disappeared. It is very sad that people without understanding how memory works trying to moderate this article. If you want scientific studies read the GMS Manual, everything is explained on the cells level. And again, please note that the book and tons of articles are free. All of this material is very useful for wikipedia users.

Internet is full of tales and wrong information about memory and it’s great that you are trying to keep eye on this issue but the information we are talking about here is a legitimate addition to this article.

And how about "notes"? You can easily rename them to external links, because they all linked to other websites.

Alex dubasAlex_Dubas

Again, one experiment initiated by one person in their own home does not constitute a scientific study.
I started perusing the GSM manual but stopped when it was clear the entire document, though perhaps containing some information, was primarily designed to sell a product.
The contents of the notes section are cited references for the article, and are quite different than simple external links. If you have issue with any of them please list them individually. --AbsolutDan (talk) 05:58, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
So if the same experiment will take place in the laboratory then it would be different? Now you are saying that the result of the experiment depends on the place? The home made experiment proofs everything I said if you think it is no a legitimate proof, - THEN PROOF IT. I mean, you act like a person who understands this but it is clear to me that you have no idea what you are talking about. I would like to see some legitimate arguments from your side not some nonsence crap. Are you aware what is scientific study is? You are not eligible to have this conversation. This site is for intellectual people and it seems to me that you are far from understanding even simple things.

Alex dubasAlex_Dubas

Again, all the home-made experiment proves is that the individual taking the test may not have photographic memory. It does not prove that no one at all has photographic memory, as it so claims. I may not be a scientist, this is true, but one single home made test does not prove such a controversial conclusion. And please, let's keep it civil here ok? --AbsolutDan (talk) 23:58, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Dan, you don’t understand simple stuff. Here is my question again: If this experiment took place in the laboratory would the result be different?

I will repeat for you something here and I hope you pay more attention this time: The experiment proofs that Photographic Memory is impossible. It has nothing to do with the person who holds the experiment. The test proofs that it is impossible physically! It proofs that the consecutive image is seen for some seconds and then gradually fades away and the consecutive image is not kept in the brain and cannot be reproduced again after it has disappeared. I will try to translate for you - it means that as long as you have human brain and eyes – IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! it has nothing to do with the person who took the test it is all about physical abilities of the eyes and brain. Now tell me something, why you stuck with the location? I mean it has nothing to do with the location what so ever! And it also has nothing to do with the person who took the test; anyone can take it and will get the same result. So what exactly you are talking about here? Please note, that this link was here for many months and you are the only one person who is trying to play smartass. You cannot legitimately answer my questions. You cannot legitimately proof that test is wrong. You cannot even say anything but simple things like – “it’s home-made”. So what exactly is your deal? The information provided by has enormous value to this article and to this website. You have a concern that there is information for sale, so what? The information I am trying to link to - is free. All material about memory is FREE. The eBook is free! Alex dubasAlex_Dubas

Sure, you can prove that someone who does not have photographic memory does not have it with this test. I can acknowledge that. But what if there's a person not taking the test who does have photographic memory? Where's the evidence? How many people have taken this particular test, and what were the results? Without some kind of evidence that says something to the effect that "x number of people took this test - y number passed and z failed", nothing is proven. We call this original research. --AbsolutDan (talk) 02:45, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
IF? IF? What is that? Legitimate conversation? I will use a simpler example. Can book fly? I can make a test and prove that book cannot fly. What you are saying is that I haven’t tested all books. All I hear is just a philosophical arguing. I don’t see anything else. Alex dubasAlex_Dubas
Yes, "if" in this case refers to the possibility of something - something none of the information we're discussing here has proven one way or another. Books being able to fly is not in question here, no one is seriously saying that they can. However, many claim that photographic memory does exist, but that not everyone has it. Thus, you can't prove that no one has photographic memory by running an experiment in which the person taking the test could be one of those who does not have it. In such a case you need scientific experimentation, testing of large numbers of people, to make a case one way or the other. That is fact, that's how science works. Perhaps such experiments have been done - but I see no evidence anywhere on the website in question of this. --AbsolutDan (talk) 13:23, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

[back to left] has no place as an external link in Wikipedia. It is not sufficiently scholarly to be cited or referred to and reeks of linkspam. -- Moondyne 01:38, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Again, read my previos post. My example with the book is a perfect example to illustrate the intellectual level of your replies. I want to remind you that this is an encyclopedia. So all point of view should be collected here. What you are claiming is ridicules from this point of view. It is the same thing like allowing posting only good information about Hitler and not to post that because of him died millions of people. This discussion is ridicules and all your points as well. I don’t have time to speak with retards. So long! Alex dubasAlex_Dubas

It seems I have found a perfect example of a hypocrite. You are calling someone a retard, yet you say proofs instead of proves. If anyone is a retard, it would have to be you. That being said, you can't seriously claim that having a photographic memory is physically impossible based on some test. What is physically impossible for one person might be entirely possible for another, due to the fact that EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I do agree, however, that this article could use some clarification on the usage of the term 'photographic memory'. Also using people that used memorization techniques as evidence for photographic memory seems questionable. A more credible source of eidetic memory would be someone who does not use memorization techniques. Darktangent (talk) 04:43, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Ha ha. Alex Dubas can barely write and is clearly unable to comprehend anything. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

any connection with..[edit]

.. PhotoReading? i think there is.

Tesla had an eidetic memory especially suited for inventors[edit]

Tesla related in his autobiography that he experienced detailed moments of inspiration. He could even operate an invention in his brain. From an early age Tesla would visualise an invention in his brain in precise form before moving to the construction stage; a technique which is sometimes known as (eidetic) picture thinking. [1]

The austistic writer and scientist Temple Grandin refers to Tesla and describes having the same ability. [2] Spazquest 21:57, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Tesla according to one of autobiography's said he was able to not only "operate" the invention but tear it apart after operating it and noting where there was excessive wear. This goes beyond just thinking in pictures, as it involves a temporal (time) state too. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sharpshooter6543210 (talkcontribs) 10:58, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Mozart had eidetic memory especially suited for composers[edit]

At the age of 14 Mozart demonstrated his eidetic memory. At the Sistine Chapel during Holy Week in Rome, Gregorio Allegri's Miserere would be performed. The notes to the Miserere were kept secret under pain of excommunication. On Holy Tuesday, Mozart and his father attended the Papal Mass at the Sistine Chapel. Upon returning to their room, Mozart transcribed the music which had been kept secret for a century [3]. Other musicians and composers with perfect pitch can be found in Category:People with absolute pitch.

Come on, man, that is just so plaint silly. Can´t you use scientic sources?-- 20:37, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for replying on the talk page. Musicians have known cases like this for centuries. Composers, especially, have a command of mental faculties which are far beyond most people, although computers are making this skill more accessible. But before computers, there was Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Bach. ... And the professionalization of science occurred after the 3 B's. Yet we still have evidence that only a few people have eidetic memory. The count must number in the hundreds or thousands. If I know of 4 out of 300 million Americans, then there must be only a small number who keep this gift into adulthood. --Ancheta Wis 22:49, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Most sicientists believe eidetic memory is myth and till now nobody could proof that he has a eidetic memory. And this stuff about composers has nothing to do with eidetic memory. They learned to remember so good. Some are also synastethics, but NO ONE has a photographic memory. That´s a fact.-- 10:56, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, think about it. Eidetic memory bestows a competitive advantage. If you had an ability that practically no one else seems to have, would you allow an invasive search and investigation of your private life? By the Golden Rule, Do not do unto others what what you would not have done to you. One way for you to perform the investigation would be to gain the trust of people with such gifts, and to make their goals your goals. Then you would have a chance of learning more. Otherwise, not; that seems to be one reason that people with such gifts do not step forward to be investigated.
Here is an analogy. In a neighborhood of expensive homes, an investigative reporter knocks on the doors to learn how much money the homeowners make. As you can imagine, the reporter would not get very much information, because someone with the resources to buy an expensive home would not be naive enough to answer such an invasive question. --Ancheta Wis 10:06, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Mozart did not have eidetic memory. There is no disputing his talents as a composer, but there have been countless examples of composers (and classical musicians) being able to remember a score with minimal exposure (e.g., Glazunov's reproduction of Borodin's oveture to Prince Igor [if that story is true], and several of the past century's top pianists come to mind). This ability can in part be explained by "chunking," by which incidentally, grandmasters are able to remember scenarios in chess with apparent ease. Basically, music (or chess) have common, and somewhat predictable patterns that are easily recognizable to individuals well-versed in the field. In fact, composers often exploit these patterns but playing against the grain so to speak (e.g., false cadences or deviations from sonata form). Mozart's memory of music may still be counted as remarkable but unless he exhibited similar abilities to remember things outside of music, of which there is no documentation that I know of, he cannot be considered to possess eidetic memory.


  1. ^ Tesla, Nikola, "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy", Century Illustrated Magazine, June 1900.
  2. ^ Grandin, Temple, Thinking in pictures.
  3. ^ Mozart's eidetic memory for music

--Ancheta Wis 08:08, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Please engage on the talk page if you wish to dispute points in the article. I know of 4 people with eidetic memory. They can remember at will. The one I observed stated he can un-remember at will as well. He gazes intently at what he wishes to remember. I have taken care only to cite cases backed up by literature. --Ancheta Wis 02:15, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Almost all of us can remember "at will." Unfortunately the problem is we also tend to forget against our will.Pithequip (talk) 05:46, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
The man I am talking about is a pianist and conductor. He can remember a music score at will. Can you remember the 7th measure of the first bar on the 10th page of a musical piece? No. I dare say you cannot; most of us who can read music can only read the music on the page as we perform it and do not remember the look of the notes on the page. Speaking for myself, I read and feel the notes. But the man I refer to has read the notes and then remembers the notes visually, not in the tactile way that I play music. --Ancheta Wis (talk) 00:46, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
A measure IS a bar. Are you sure you read music? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:24, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Shawn Spencer[edit]

The character of Shawn Spencer on the TV show "Psych" has not been officially characterised has having an eidetic memory. The bio of the character simply states that he has "extraordinary powers of observation" (, and many of his "flashes" are based on observations (and the progressive and logical piecing together of clues overlooked by other people) rather than memory. As an example against the eidetic memory claim, at the end of the pilot episode, Shawn tells Gus that he's already been given another case (one which we don't actually get to see), and he has difficulty remembring the exact name of the drug that was used in committing the crime.

BTW, whether or not eidetic memory actually exists in the real world is immaterial to the fictional world of "Psych" (just as transporters and warp engines can exist in the fictional Star Trek world). [anon?]

We are fans; and, my view is that sensory acuity can be improved with practice. My own interest is in auditory short-term accuracy. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 15:56, 25 January 2013 (UTC)


I am sorry to say that the provided link explaining how Eidetic memory is supposedly impossible is not true. As someone who has Asperger's Syndrome and Eidetic Memory, I can safely say that it is very possible.Thomasiscool 21:47, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Answer to 'Thomasiscool': That means you, too, can memorize Allegri's Miserere by hearing/viewing it once? I don't think so. You can't. You don't 'memorize' easily things correctly you don't know about. Otherwise you would be a Nobel Prize Winner. You are not. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 14:16, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
It's also true that high school boys don't masturbate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:27, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
How about, instead of making claims one way or another, you 2 add some proper sources to the article for research that backs your claims? --AbsolutDan (talk) 22:44, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
See my reference about Temple Grandin above. She describes being able to visualize objects and spatial relationships clearly enough to manipulate them in real time, so to speak. It's quite possible that there are different experiences lumped together as "photographic memory" and perhaps someone could elaborate on this in the article.
Skeptics please keep in mind that humans have a wide range of abilities; I myself have very poor visual recall and can't see a friend's face clearly in my mind. Spazquest
I also have Asperger's and eidetic memory. I am a strong visual-spatial thinker. Thus, for me memories are images that I see in my mind's-eye. If I meet a person I will never forget their face; but I often have a hard time with names. Additionally after I have visited a place one time I will never forget it. I also tend to remember the exact locations of objects and the exact state of things. Since my mind works through visualization, I can visually 'walk through' in my mind any place that I have been to before. I bet if I sat down and made an effort, I could, for example, count the exact number and location of traffic signals on a 600-mile journey that I have driven many times.
Anyway, probably alot more people have an eidetic or semi-eidetic memory than is popularly belived. Whether a person has 'won a Nobel prize' bears no causal relationship to this issue, and is irrelevant: I would think that many people with eidetic memory have other pervasisve developmental disorders that make 'success' as defined by the societal norm difficult to achieve. Anyway, eidetic memory is not impossible. I could see how an individual with a 'constricted' mind could fail to understand the possibility.Milo rules 04:08, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Strange, why must memory be measured by being able to single pass read and remember something. I believe I have eidetic memory, I can remember in video form my entire day, the more interesting parts crystal clear, along with scent. Sounds I never thought about, but I can't remember sound well now that I try. Right now I can smell, well, remember the smell and video of fairfield texas, specific bits at a time though.
I don't know how to measure it, but I always wondered if people had the same memory as me, when I was 8-10 I was the inter-relative show of memory, I could recite most of any book I read, mainly The Core, which was a good book by the way hehe. Now, I've got piss poor memory compared to page by page ability, age I guess. I know my mother I asked a long time ago if she saw images for memory, after some discussion she was shocked and thought I was joking about mental video memory of events. I found out three or four months ago that my father has memory equal to where mine is now, he's forty-nine. (talk) 09:43, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Perfect Pitch[edit]

I teach at a Japanese college for music. All students I know have perfect pitch. My wife has it.I don't.(I am not Japanese.) Are all those people mysteriously blessed with that 'gift' because they are Japanese? No. They undergo a special training called 'solfege', which is a Japanese variation of the French solfege education. That enables them (among other things) after some time to memorize the pitches with a certain degree of precision. There is absolutely nothing miraculous about this ability -otherwise it would not be available to so many people. It certainly has nothing to do with other musical skills - both good and bad instrumentalists/singers can aquire it. Like many other so-called 'talents' it is the result of practicing. Some famous musicians are said to have 'received' perfect pitch as a 'gift'. That is very difficult to prove. It would be a safer guess that they, too, were exposed to some kind of training, either unconsciously or on purpose. Mozart most certainly got very early a thorough education from his father, who wrote a violin school that is one of the most important educational works in the history of music. Concerning the 'Allegri Miracle': Mozart was at that age already familiar with quite difficult composing techniques. It wouldn't have taken him long to recognize that the 'Miserere' is based on very simple harmonic and formal patterns that are repeated over and over. It is not too surprising that a musician of his rank should be able to memorize that particular patterns after the third or forth time they return. Anyway, a more realistic version (see for example Allegri) of this story sends him to the Vatican twice, not just once. That would have given him the time to memorize the basic patterns and write them down afterwards. The second time he would have used to memorize the missing details. Final version. Still the stroke of a master; but not a 'miracle'. To explain the incident with the presence of 'eidetic memory' mocks his real skills. Personally I never met any musician who could prove being able to memorize music by just looking at the sheet or listening to it for some moments. And even if he could, he probably still couldn't play it. (Mozart could do that - but only in the movie 'Amadeus'. Which is a - movie) Life is not that easy, especially for people in difficult professions. --Thefritz5 12:05, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with being japanese, although it may be more common among asians. i have perfect pitch, and i'm completely caucasian. thedrtaylor 01:00, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I know this isn't exactly on topic, but I've heard on NPR's radiolab that people who learn tone-based languages are more likely to have perfect pitch. English is not a tone-based language (it doesn't matter what pitch you say a word in, it will mean the same thing, not true for, say, Cambodian). In the radiolab episode, they referenced a study where a team looked at a music school and found that close to 70% of the students who learned tone-based languages had perfect pitch, whereas only 30% of people who had been raised speaking non tone-based languages had perfect pitch. (you can download that episode of radiolab here: )


Whoa. Okay, let's not blow this out of proportion. There's a big difference between memorizing something you don't know about and recalling events or memorizing things you do know about. I never said I could memorize the Miserere. I also never said anything about memorizing things I don't know about.Read the article before you make accusations on the discussion pageThomasiscool 01:27, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Then you don't have an eidetic memory. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:10, 16 September 2009 (UTC)


I'm not sure that Haraguchi's recitation of pi is truly an indicator of eidetic memory, he could have been calculating it instead. 07:14, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Haraguchi isn't eidetic, he simply has an extraordinary ability to remember significant amounts of pi. He has his tricks, everyone knows that, but he certainly isn't calculating it on the spot. If he was, why would he stop? 01:10, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Bathroom time, dummy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Eidetic memory in fiction[edit]

I seem to recall a short SF story about a man with eidetic memory, and the immense social difficulty it caused him. For example, when he stood next to a random person at a ball game, he could remember exactly when and where he'd happened to have crossed paths with them years before, their name, what they had been wearing, etc. No matter how hard he tried to avoid it, at some point in the general small talk that occurs with others at such shared events, some detail from his memory would leak out and the other person would freak out at this supposed stranger knowing this detail.

Anyone else read this story? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 10:12, 15 December 2006 (UTC).

i think i've heard of a story close to that one, but it was a woman with the eidetic memory. --Kzrulzuall 08:46, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

It was in a book of collected short stories called "Mutants". The protagonist was endowed with total recall, able to remember every detail with perfect clarity from any point in time of his past, but felt more cursed than blessed by his extraordinary memory.


Wow, this article is devoid of content. It has no useful explanation or exploration of what "eidetic memory" actually is, yet it has a controversy section, and it is dominated by vast lists of people and fictional people who allegedly have it. Its rather impossible to constructively debate a topic until you've established what it is you're arguing about... 19:55, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

  • You may be right. But you are a potential editor. Please contribute to it. I for one would be glad to read your input. Bus stop 20:07, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

important note[edit]

Eidetic memory and photographic memory are different according to this source

It depends what one is referring to with these words. Eidetic memory as a type of memory doesn't exist IMO. For the phenomenon of seeing images very vividly, the term eidetic memory is a misnomer. The more correct term would be eidetic imagery. As explained in the article cited above as well as in other sources I have been reading:
Thanks for chiming in. After all, that's what I come to Wikipedia for: your opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:34, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Photographic memory is often confused with another bizarre—but real—perceptual phenomenon called eidetic memory, which occurs in between 2 and 15 percent of children and very rarely in adults. An eidetic image is essentially a vivid afterimage that lingers in the mind's eye for up to a few minutes before fading away. Children with eidetic memory never have anything close to perfect recall, and they typically aren't able to visualize anything as detailed as a body of text.

See also [1], [2]. I suggest we create one article discussing the photographic memory and another one discussing eidetic imagery. These topics should be treated separately. --Eleassar my talk 15:05, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


does music affect things memorized?????? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:03, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

I ended up at this article after having a conversation with an old grad-school housemate who was telling me that music serves as his strongest cue for memories. When he hears a song, he can remember the date he first heard it, where he was, what he was doing... Researchers often talk about smell as being the most potent trigger for memories, but it seems like other senses can have primacy in some people.

RandySteer (talk) 21:23, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

"Photographic memory" redirects here[edit]

I assume we don't need a disambiguating hatnote to the effect "For memory used in digital photography, see Memory card." --Damian Yerrick (talk | stalk) 02:49, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Swami Vivekananda[edit]

Swami Vivekananda had photographic memory.- Refer Complete works —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:26, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

yes, i have added him to the list along with the reference. --Kkjkkj (talk) 18:44, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

A possible copy + paste?[edit]

At the start of the section "Controversy", there is a note which refers the reader to look at sections 15.3 and 15.6, in fact no such sections exist in Wikipedia. This could be either just misunderstood, or then it is really copied and pasted from a certain website/book.

I've removed the note, as I don't see possible uses for it in this article. Still, any possible copyright violations should be removed, as I can barely think a reason why would sections of such big numbers exist in this article. ~Iceshark7 (talk) 17:36, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I read it as "see sections 15.3 and 15.6 of Dr. Minsky's The Society of Mind". Perhaps it's just an unfamiliar citation style. --Damian Yerrick (talk | stalk) 19:16, 10 December 2007 (UTC)


I'm removing the link to Ronald Reagan, unless someone has a cite. I can't find anyone who even claims he was an eidetiker, and he's much better known for memory loss. Ethan Mitchell (talk) 16:04, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Jill Price[edit]

Jill price and the other two unreferenced people, have (probably) no eidtic memory, they have the hyperthymestic syndrome. I can't be sure if Jill Price is also eidetic, but this aseveration leads to the impression that this condition is very unusual, which is not true, so I'm removing it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:24, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

From what I've read about her, agreed, and I haven't seen a good study done on her, re: photographic memory (only one done on her personal memory/recollection of important (to her) dates), just a lot of popular media fanfare. In fact, MRI scans on her, and others, indicate that hyperthymestic syndrome is a subset/side effect/related to extreme OCD. Also, in the section "People claimed to possess an eidetic memory", the sentence "A number of people claim to have eidetic memory, but until 2008, nearly no one had been tested and documented as having a memory that is truly photographic in a literal sense" sounds like it might reference her as the one 'confirmed' person with eidetic memory (which is false). If this isn't so, it's poorly written. - (talk) 14:41, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Eidetic vs. photographic[edit]

Here is stated that there are differences between both types of memory. I've suggested to split this article in two. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:44, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

The link has a POV. Not a suitable reason, unless you can make a stronger case; first, you have to show there are qualitative or quantitative reasons. We need more knowledge to characterize this topic first. --Ancheta Wis (talk) 10:37, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'm not an expert in this matter, so I'm afraid I can't make a case strong enough. After some Google "research" I've found that: 1. Several pages have the same description as Wikipedia's article (I don't know who copied whom), in these sources photographic memory=eidetic memory=total recall. 2. Some people calls "eidetic memory" to a special ability (learned or inherited), but not necessarily "photographic", so the latter term will be inappropriate. (see for example Probably there is no need for two different articles, but I think it will be a good idea to point out the differences between both terms. (talk) 16:12, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Disagree with merger. Photographic memory seems to be either a synonym or subset of eidetic memory, depending on whose definition you use. -Lamarcus (talk) 04:04, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Disagree with merger. Eidetic memory tends to include photographic memory, as Lamarcus has noted. P.F. Bruns (talk) 20:32, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Disagree There's currently not even a section on photographic memory in this article to be split off. Jon (talk) 14:45, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Agree with splitting into two articles. This article should definitely be split, because it's highly misleading at the moment. See my comment below in this section, but I'd rename this one to Photographic memory (which is a popular culture myth) and make another page to cover Eidetic imagery, which is something very different. Let99 (talk) 16:03, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Eidetic IMAGERY is the appropriate term and it is NOT photographic memory. According to most psychologists, photographic memory doesn't exist. (talk) 05:40, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

If psychlogists are defining Eidetic Memory differently than how lay people are defining photographic memory this article could use a sourced paragraph or two about the difference. Jon (talk) 14:45, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure your sentence was in English. - (talk) 14:45, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. The term 'photographic memory' is a popular term, and one not used in psychology. - (talk) 14:45, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

"Photographic memory" and "total recall" are popular culture terms. They just don't exist, according to research. Eidetic memory is something different and they should not be referred to as the same thing in the same sentence. I think it should be two articles -- one for eidetic memory (according to psychology), and one that shows all the evidence that "photographic memory" or "total recall" is a myth from popular culture. They are not the same things, so in its current form, the article is very confusing. Edit: what do you think about renaming this page to "Eidetic imagery" and creating a new page about the popular culture term "Photographic Memory" (a.k.a., "total recall")? The ideal way to do it is to rename this page to "Photographic memory" and split the eidetic content into a new page called "Eidetic imagery". Let99 (talk) 15:45, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Let99, see WP:Content fork; there is no need for two articles to address different uses of the term (or terms). The terms are used interchangeably, even though distinguished by different sources. All of that can be covered in one article -- Eidetic memory -- the same thing that Wikipedia does for many other articles, such as Atheism and all of its interchangeable or otherwise related terms (though some of those interchangeable or otherwise related terms have their own articles). Flyer22 (talk) 15:58, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
They are not the same things and should not be used interchangeably. "Photographic memory" is a popular culture myth that doesn't exist. One can't say that eidetic memory exists and then claim that "photographic memory" is synonymous. Let99 (talk) 16:05, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Let99, we go by what the WP:Reliable sources state, per WP:Verifiability, not our personal opinions; as is made quite clear by others above and elsewhere on this talk page, the terms are used interchangeably (not always) and, depending on how a source is defining the matter, are the same thing. If you are not aware of how we cover discrepancies with regard to a term here at Wikipedia, I advise you to look at the Atheism article and other Wikipedia articles that have a Definitions section or something similar. I also advise you to read WP:Content fork. Either way, there is no WP:Consensus for what you are suggesting be done with this article. Flyer22 (talk) 16:14, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I know. I will find other people who are knowledgeable about memory to leave their opinions here and help fix the article. The current page is one of those "worst of Wikipedia" pages, because it perpetuates bad information into popular culture. Let99 (talk) 16:19, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
You just reverted my edits, which I'm still in the middle of working on. Did you read the articles? They say what I added there. There is no original research in my edits. Eidetic memory is not the same thing as what is called photographic memory. See this page for the difference. Eidetic imagery is not photographic memory. Let99 (talk) 16:25, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
That very short definition is not an adequate source. Please find better sources (preferably scientific journals) that distinguish between the two concepts. --NeilN talk to me 16:38, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Please give me some minutes to do that. The entire Internet is corrupted by people's using Wikipedia for research. Even psychology websites are just copying content from Wikipedia, which is why it's important to get this article right. Let99 (talk) 16:40, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I reverted you, and I just might do it again, like I did here, if you don't stick to what the sources state. Where do the sources state "often mistakenly confused with the non-existing"? They don't. That is you violating the WP:Synthesis policy, which is an aspect of the WP:Original research policy; this means that you are drawing a conclusion not made explicitly clear by the sources. Furthermore, you are violating the WP:Neutral policy, as you are making it out as though these terms are never legitimately defined in the same way, despite the fact that they are often legitimately defined in the same way. You repeatedly claiming "[e]idetic memory is not the same thing as what is called photographic memory" has no standing when compared to what WP:Reliable sources state. Flyer22 (talk) 16:43, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Why is Wikipedia filled with so many hostile people? No need to be like that. There are many bad Wikipedia articles like this that will continue to spread false information around society due to these kinds of attitudes. Can I ask you what background you have in the memory field that makes you so confident that there are no differences between eidetic imagery in psychology and photographic memory as it appears in popular culture? I'm still looking for additional studies to cite at the moment, so please give me a bit of time. You can search around journals like this in the meantime, if you want to learn more about it. Let99 (talk) 16:52, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Why is Wikipedia filled with so many editors who have been editing this site for several years and yet act like WP:Newbies in more than one way? No need to be like. Just become more familiar with the way this site is supposed to work. My wanting you to follow the rules is not being hostile. I am stern with regard to a lot of Wikipedia rules. I now see that you are getting your "often mistakenly confused with the non-existing" wording from the Slate source, which states: "Photographic memory is often confused with another bizarre—but real—perceptual phenomenon called eidetic memory, which occurs in between 2 and 15 percent of children and very rarely in adults." Still, you are giving WP:Undue weight to that one source on the matter. I don't think that you are reading any of the guideline and policy pages I'm referring you to or that you care to read them, so I'll be ceasing discussion with you on this matter and will refrain from any further involvement with this article. Some things on Wikipedia I have patience for; not for this. This article just is not that important to me, and editors who are not well read on Wikipedia policies and guidelines are added frustration for very experienced Wikipedia editors. And, for the record, no Wikipedia editor has to accept any problematic or likely problematic reversion while waiting for the editor who made the problematic or likely problematic reversion to gather sources. Flyer22 (talk) 17:13, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
This article is problematic as is. I'm trying to fix it. Instead of jumping on people, why not work together to help make it accurate instead of just deleting things? The kind of behavior that some people do in their enthusiasm to enforce rules often makes it very difficult for people to fix articles like this that are spreading wrong information. If you think that my edits go against the rules, we can work to improve the additions here on the talk page. It seems that working on the same side towards the same goal would be more pleasant than this. Let99 (talk) 17:25, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I work with other Wikipedia editors often, especially when I feel that the outcome will be beneficial to the Wikipedia article; I do not have a hint that the outcome will be beneficial to the Wikipedia article in this case. And I never stated that there are "no differences between eidetic imagery in psychology and photographic memory as it appears in popular culture." I was very clear above that it's a matter of what WP:Reliable sources state. Flyer22 (talk) 17:44, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
It's always a good idea when challenged, to add proper sources with your edits so you can show other editors it's not only you who thinks your changes are "right". --NeilN talk to me 16:48, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
My sources are proper. "Photographic memory" doesn't exist. Eidetic imagery does, and it's something different. Edit: additional links coming shortly. Let99 (talk) 16:53, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
The sources you have so far given do not specifically compare the two concepts. Furthermore, this source uses "photographic memory" and has the same facts as your Behavioral and Brain Sciences abstract. --NeilN talk to me 17:10, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't know how many people you will find extensively comparing the two other than in Wikipedia and Wikipedia-derived articles. Wikipedia itself is the source of the confusion. Go read some scientific papers that contain definitions of eidetic imagery and you will see that it is not "photographic memory". The Psychology Today article says that photographic memory probably doesn't exist. (It doesn't, and Haraguchi surely uses an advanced mnemonic system like the method of loci combined with something like the major system.) It also says that eidetic imagery is not photographic memory as the word is understood by most people in popular culture. Let99 (talk) 17:18, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm still not seeing any sources for "mistakenly confused". Are you going to provide any? If not, I will be modifying your edits. --NeilN talk to me 17:26, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
I removed the word "mistakenly" but I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Eidetic imagery refers to images that a small percentage of children see. The definitions I've linked to clearly state this. Eidetic imagery is not "photographic memory", which is a popular culture term that has never been shown to exist. This Wikipedia article is using the two interchangeably and incorrectly. Also, could we keep this friendly and have you build upon my edits rather than completely revert them? We can keep discussing it here and gradually work towards making the article accurate. I will also ask some more people to leave their opinions on this page. Thanks... Let99 (talk) 18:08, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Long-Term Memory?[edit]

I remember reading an article in some semi-popular journal a few years back that claimed that people with eidetic memory often have poor long-term memory. Can anyone find that article or something disproving it? I've tried to, but failed. (talk) 06:03, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Photographic Memory[edit]

I am a bit confused after reading this article. Basically it says that this kind of memory is thought to be non existant. But then again... I can remember large pieces of text almost word by word reading them once or twice. The way it works is that I read the text and after that I can "see" the pages in my mind as pictures. Whenever I take exams or tests I simply "see" the text as it appears in reality in my mind and write down all I need. I can easily tell on which page the passage in question is and so on. Not always can I remember the text EXACTLY as it is after reading it for the first time, reading it twice is the best. Why? I would compare it to seeing a picture - you look at it at first and you see - oh there is John, James and Jill. You look at it again and you notice other details. So far I have tested myself with up to 60 pages and have been very close to the original text. And yes - I have made some of my teachers cry tears of joy, because they think that I have studied very hard :D :D :D So my question is - is my memory PHOTOGRAPHIC? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

If you have photographic memory, get yourself tested by scientists in a controlled setting. You will be the first. Let99 (talk) 16:21, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Eidetic Imagery[edit]

Just trying to see if anyone else on this website is like me.

Since I can remember, I've had a "photographic memory", When I was 5 or 6 I remember staring past my white dining room table, towards the sunset through glass doors behind it. When closing my eyes, because the scene was so bright, I could still see all of the shapes of it in an orange light very clearly when I closed my eyes. The image got brighter when I covered my eyes with my hands, and almost as if it was stuck on my retina, i could still see it when i opened my eyes, like a double negative photo, and it moved wherever my eyes did. It would slowly fade away, and I would try again. Since then I can still see a picture of that same spot, from the same angle, in impecable clarity, but it's no longer in my eyes, the image is now stored in my head, and i can see it with my brain and not my eyes, in clear accurate picture form, not details organized and separately remembered. i see the picture, and pick details from it. i can do this whenever i want, except for in dark areas. the brighter the thing to be memorized, the clearer the picture. something also strange, i can see pictures in the retina form "they move with my eyes" in solid colors, eg. a dolls face all blue, a road in yellow, a persons face all orange. and i can close my eyes and if i focus, colors will come up behind my eyes, then i can demand the color, and it will change. and random pictures will appear in the colors, then fade slowly away. then i can recall pictures that i wish to see in my eyes, but it takes a little while for the right one. those are less clear colored shapes on the black. but the real long term memory pictures are crystal clear, and vivid, and thats how i amaze my family and my husband because i can tell him exactly where he stood, what he was wearing exactly, what look was on his face, the lighting, the location, the cars passing, things behind him, from random times from years ago. also every dream i have is like this vivid, and i remember them vividly in pictures as well. Last thing, when i was a child, i had all the disney movies, so when it was bed time and i would be scared or unable to sleep, i would see an image of a movie theater, the curtains would open, and i could honestly play an entire disney movie like bambie or alice in wonderland, in my head scene for scene clearly, until i fell asleep. i've mostly lost that ability, but i haven't tried in years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Memory Records section should be changed/deleted[edit]

This section lists several feats of memorization which may or may not be attributed to eidetic memory. If a particular feat is attributed to eidetic memory, it should remain there. If it is not attributed to eidetic memory, then it has no place in this article. The second half of the article doesn't even have anything to do with memory records, and should be placed in a separate section or removed. The paragraph about synesthesia does not clearly explain how it relates to eidetic memory, and should be clarified, or removed.

Also, in the 'Controversy' section, it is said that Elizabeth refused to take additional tests, yet the source only says she was never tested again.

Sources 5 and 7 are identical. Darktangent (talk) 05:18, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

The Islamic guy at the bottom[edit]

Do we need a long as name instead of the shorter one?--Ssteiner209 (talk) 21:37, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Can anyone translate this? I don't know which one is less informative - the article or the comments. -.- - (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 13:08, 30 May 2009 (UTC).

Andriy Slyusarchuk[edit]

Please take care that any records by a guy called Andriy Slyusarchuk are not included. he is a liar, none of his records are officially accepted. He also claims to be able to read minds and - what an interesting statement - that he uses hypnosis to make people believe anything he wants them to believe. (talk) 19:46, 22 January 2010 (UTC)


I do not know, why this list is included again. You can already see, that the stupids edits on that list occur again. None of this claims are supported by reliable sources. This is not at all scientific or worth to be in an encylopedia, therefore I highly suggest to keep that extra page with the list of people outside of this article and anyone with unreliable claims can be added there. Memoryexpert de (talk) 12:44, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Eidetic Imagery/Therapy[edit]

I have removed the line that enjoined users seeking information on "eidetic therapy" to see the article on "Eidetic Imagery." No such article currently exists, and if you clicked the link you just found yourself redirected back to this article again. There probably ought to be an article on Eidetic Imagery (certainly this mess of an article does not cover the topic adequately); indeed, if done at all adequately it ought to replace this one. By no means all psychologists agree that eidetic imagery is a real, distinct phenomenon, but at least it is a reasonably well defined scientific meaning. "Eidetic memory," by contrast, has no real scientific meaning, and the idea seems to be nothing but a confusion between eidetic imagery (which, if real, is a very vivid and detailed, but quite briefly persisting form of visual memory) and the very good memories that people do have for certain sorts of material. Some people do, indeed, have extraordinary memory abilities, but there is nothing particularly "eidetic" about them, and the people who are claimed to have eidetic imagery (almost all young children) do not generally have unusually good memory abilities, at any rate, not beyond the few minutes or even seconds for which an eidetic image is usually claimed to persist.

Eidetic therapy is another topic again, that may or may not deserve its own entry. There is such a psychotherapeutic technique (and theory), that does, I think, involve the use of eidetic imagery, but, to the best of my knowledge, only a very small number of psychotherapists practice it, and it is not widely recognized as having any true scientific basis. Treharne (talk) 15:59, 6 July 2010 (UTC)


I have made some edits and added some citations to the section on Elizabeth's alleged abilities. I think the skepticism expressed about her there is very warranted, but I do wonder if it is really true that it was largely skepticism about the claims about her that led to a more general scientific skepticism about eidetic imagery/memory as such. I am fairly familiar with the field, and I have never come across anything suggesting that this is the case. Also, when the rumors about the problems with this study first came to my attention (almost 30 years ago, as gossip from a psychology professor) the story that I heard was that it was not the result of fraud by the researcher (Stromeyer, who went on to become a tenured Harvard professor), but, rather, the result of a practical joke that got out of hand, played upon Stromeyer by his fiancee (i.e. "Elizabeth" herself) and some of their friends. I am not sure how this might be indicated in the article, especially as I can provide no cite for it, but, although it does not say so directly, the account as it stands might be read as implying that Stromeyer is a fraudster, which might be quite unfair.

Also, I believe that "Elizabeth" is not the real name of the woman in question, but is rather a pseudonym used to refer to her in the published accounts of her alleged abilities. It is a standard practice in the psychological sciences to refer to individual subjects with pseudonyms in this way, to preserve their privacy. Treharne (talk) 15:58, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

REMOVED: reimproved tag[edit]

Hello, I have removed the following tag:

{{Refimprove|date=May 2010}}

For the following reasons:

I Arman Cagle, have added a reference section,
and added three references that relate to the article.

If you have any questions, please reply to me on my talk page.
Arman Cagle

Arman Cagle (Contact me EMail Me Contribs) 17:57, 12 August 2010 (UTC)


How long does photographic memory last? Is it a matter of minutes or hours? I mean photographic memory in the limited, clinical sense and not in the popular culture sense which seem to be largely mythical.

2010-09-12 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.


I've been trying to do some research on whether there are jobs that require a photographic memory. I have found no luck so far. Any suggestions? My 'talent' is limited to number memorization but it is quite impressive. Share your thoughts!

I don't think there are any such jobs. You have probably misunderstood the concept of photographic memory.

2011-01-04 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

I would be incredibly surprised to find a job where eidetic memory is a prerequisite, seeing as it has never been proven to exist, that would be akin to finding a job where you have to be bigfoot to do it -ross616- (talk) 18:00, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

There may be jobs where having a photographic memory helps, especially within the visual art fields, eg. court illustrator. Anyway, this amounts to discussion of the article as far as I can tell Totorotroll (talk) 09:50, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

In popular culture - "My Idea of Fun"[edit]

I added a paragraph on Will Self's novel "My Idea of Fun". Eidetic memory ( or some expanded form of it ) is a significant theme in the novel, so I thought it might be worth mentioning it here.

This was my first ever contribution to Wikipedia, my previous participation was limited to occasionally correcting spelling mistakes. I hope it's OK - I was a little unsure about how to add references to books. Is the reference to the book in keeping with "house style" ?

Incidentally, the book is a really interesting read. It gets quite extreme in places, so it might not be to everyone's taste. (talk) 13:15, 6 December 2012 (UTC)Simon

Your addition is obviously wholly in good faith, and it's well written. But just because you personally find this novel by Will Self interesting, does not necessarily mean that it can contribute to any general understanding of the phenomenon. It's fiction. Indeed, given that the book has its own wikipedia article, I'm not sure there is any need to have quite so much detail here. For some readers it might even confuse the boundary between fact and fiction. Sorry to sound so negative, but that's my view. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:57, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
I have now reverted your last edit, but the first one is still there. It was too elaborate. Don't be discouraged though, it is hard in the beginning to know which edits will be kept and which will be changed. Lova Falk talk 14:57, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

please add this references[edit]

This was done on "Elizabeth" also:

Nature 237, 109 - 112 (12 May 1972); doi:10.1038/237109a0 Alpha Rhythm and Eye Movements in Eidetic Imagery DANIEL A. POLLEN & MICHAEL C. TRACHTENBERG* — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

pop culture sherlock holmes[edit]

surely holmes warrants a mention in thepop culture refrence? in thhe original books as well as new TV show/movies holmes incredible ability to pull up the most minute of details from a situation well after it occurs is a prime example of eidetic memory in both it's most norrow definition as well as the broader scope of just having the training/knowledge to pick up more details in an image.

as a side quesion. does muscle memory count as edetic or is this a seperate phenomium? (talk) 03:30, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Major problems with article[edit]

This article has major problems. Mostly the lack of sources. The Overview section has almost no sources. Even worse, there is a lot of weasel words saying that ideas about eidetic memory are still theoretical and there is not yet experimental techniques to accurate study it. These sorts of statements are by definition not verifiable and thus cannot be in a wikipedia article. I will chop the obviously unsalvageable portions and add CITE tags to the rest. Ashmoo (talk) 18:24, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Extremely Poor and Misleading Overview Section[edit]

I am a memory researcher at UC Irvine, and I have to say that the overview of this article is misleading and, erm, wrong--just dead wrong. The correct way to write an encyclopedia article about eidetic memory is from a skeptical viewpoint. Properly done scientific investigations do not support the idea that anyone has photographic, perfect, or eidetic memory. So, for example, it should read "Eidetic memory is an alleged ability that..." and " although there is some evidence of people with above average memory, no verified cases have shown perfect memory recall..." etc etc. Gosh I wish someone from APS' wiki initiative would fix this article. I don't have time.

Eidetic memory is not fictional. Photographic memory is fictional.[edit]

The first sentence in this article claims eidetic memory is fictional. This is false, and the Slate article referenced ( is clear on this. Here's what the Slate article says, "Photographic memory is often confused with another bizarre—but real—perceptual phenomenon called eidetic memory, which occurs in between 2 and 15 percent of children and very rarely in adults." The word "real" is right there. Seems unambiguously wrong to claim eidetic memory is fictional. Ericsilva (talk) 22:52, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

In popular culture[edit]

This section is moved from the article, where it was tagged as listcruft for being indiscriminate, to talk. It is too long and needs to be pared down to significant, notable or representative examples. RJFJR (talk) 19:31, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Television characters with eidetic memories include

In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events series, one of the three protagonists, Klaus Baudelaire, is an avid reader and amateur researcher with an eidetic memory. He remembers virtually everything that he reads from books of any kind, even learned many languages. His knowledge and resources often help his other siblings, Violet and Sunny, to escape from dangerous situations, e.g. Count Olaf, the primary antagonist of the series.

Symbologist Robert Langdon from Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and Inferno has an eidetic memory.

In the Swedish Millennium series by Stieg Larsson (and its accompanying films), the hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander has an eidetic memory.[1]

In the movie Good Will Hunting, the main character, Will Hunting, is said to possess both an extraordinary IQ and an eidetic memory, demonstrated at the bar scene where he confronts a plagiarist. [citation needed]

Significant parts of the plot of Small Gods by Terry Pratchett depend on the hyperthymestic, eidetic memory of the novice Brutha. He remembers every moment of his life in perfect detail, down to the precise location and timing of individual footsteps. He cannot read, but he can nevertheless make perfect reproductions of documents from memory because he remembers the shapes of the letters. When he witnesses a disreputable action and is ordered to forget it, he does not understand the order as he has no concept of "forgetting". When asked what is the first thing that he can remember, he replies "There was a bright light, and then someone hit me".

The novel My Idea of Fun by author Will Self features a protagonist with a powerful eidetic memory, and this is explored extensively by Self.[2] In this novel, the eidetic capabilities of the "Eidetiker" greatly exceed those described in this article.

In keeping with their unusual style, Autechre named track 7 from Confield 'Eidetic Casein' (literally translated, meaning 'photographic milk-proteins').

In Thomas Harris's 1981 novel Red Dragon, protagonist Will Graham is explicitly identified as having an eidetic memory rivaling Hannibal Lecter's.

In the visual novels Jisei, Kansei and Yousei by SakeVisual, one of the characters, Naoki Mizutani, possesses an eidetic memory.

In the comic book series Ruse, Simon Archard, one of the primary protagonists, has an eidetic memory.

In the Mass Effect series, the Drell species possess eidetic memory as a racial trait.

In Sharon Draper's novel Out of My Mind, the character Melody has eidetic memory though she has a condition called "Cerebral Palsy".

In David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest, the character Hal Incandenza has an eidetic memory.

In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, the character Bean has a completely flawless eidetic memory.

In Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun, the protagonist Severian has a supposedly eidetic memory.

In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Lasciel, Dresden's temporary mental houseguest, creates a physical persona named Sheila, who helps Dresden with some magical detective work by using her eidetic memory.

Funes the Memorious" or "Funes, His Memory." (original Spanish title: "Funes el memorioso") is a fantasy short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. First published in La Nación in June 1942, it appeared in the 1944 anthology Ficciones, part two (Artifices).

Deleted bare URL for Wiltshire[edit]

Deleted this sentence: "Stephen Wiltshire, an autistic savant, drew an 18' long highly detailed panorama of Manhattan after one 20 minute helicopter ride.[3]" because, as noted in Edit History: the link is a bare URL and, anyway, the info is already noted further into the article. The URL is usable, IF someone would care to properly format it and insert it as an additional Ref where pertinent (but any further elaboration is unnecessary in this article, I believe). Penwatchdog (talk) 15:46, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Wogan's Perfect Recall is nothing to do with Eidetic memory[edit]

I don't see how Wogan's Perfect Recall, which is a general knowledge quiz, where 'contestants can answer either by knowing the answer or by remembering an answer from previous rounds', has anything to do with Eidetic memory. See this review James317a (talk) 21:05, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Larsson, Stieg (2009). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. New York: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. p. 462. ISBN 978-0-307-47347-9. "'Lisbeth, you have a photographic memory,' Mikael exclaimed in surprise. 'That's why you can read a page of the investigation in ten seconds.'" 
  2. ^ Self, Will (1993). My Idea of Fun. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 0-7475-1591-3. "I went into a full-blown eidetic trance."