List of people claimed to possess an eidetic memory

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A number of people claim to have eidetic memory, but science has never found a single verifiable case of photographic memory.[1][2] Eidetic imagery is virtually nonexistent in adults.[3] Most people showing amazing memory abilities use mnemonic strategies, mostly the method of loci. This includes all winners of the annual World Memory Championships and most of the known scientific cases of excellent memories, like S. V. Shereshevskii. Regardless, the following list contains people who have claimed photographic memory.[4]

People claimed to possess an eidetic memory[edit]

  • Charles Nalder Baeyertz, a publisher and music critic in New Zealand. His capacity to memorize a page at a glance enabled him to display an apparently inexhaustible supply of knowledge and to acquire several languages. He claimed to have learnt Maori by memorizing a dictionary. His favourite party trick was to read a newspaper column then recite it backwards.[5]
  • Elizabeth, a Harvard student, claimed and disputed.[6][7][8]
  • The mathematician Leonhard Euler has been characterized as having an eidetic memory.[9] He was able to, for example, repeat the Aeneid of Virgil from beginning to end without hesitation, and for every page in the edition he could indicate which line was the first and which was the last even decades after having read it.[9]
  • Robert Evans can identify new objects that appear in starfields of 1500 galaxies.[10]
  • Akira Haraguchi holds the Guinness World Record for the most decimal places of pi recited by memory. His ability is self-attributed to a strong eidetic memory, though he uses a mnemonic device.[11][12]
  • The astronomer Johannes Kepler had a photographic memory according to Rolf Keppler, a descendant of Kepler's brother Christoph.[13]
  • Klaus Kinski, a German actor, was described by Will Tremper as having a photographic memory, which allowed him to memorize a book page within minutes.[14]
  • Ferdinand Marcos, the former Filipino dictator. He claimed to have memorized complicated texts in one glance. He could recite the Philippine 1935 constitution forward and backward. He also passed the bar examination in 1939 with an almost perfect score at 98.01%. Several people contested his score and a retake was taken, albeit an oral bar examination witnessed by several people. His second bar examination resulted in a perfect score.[15]
  • Said Nursî, an Ottoman Islamic scholar who was able to recite many books from memory. For instance "... So then he [Molla Fethullah] decided to test his memory and handed him a copy of the work by Al-Hariri of Basra (1054-1122) — also famous for his intelligence and power of memory — called Maqamat al-Hariri. Said read one page once, memorized it, then repeated it by heart. Molla Fethullah expressed his amazement."[16]
  • Kim Peek, prodigious savant and inspiration for the character Raymond Babbit, played by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.[17]
  • Shas Pollaks, Jewish mnemonists who memorized the exact layout of words in more than 5,422 pages of the 12 books of the standard edition of the Babylonian Talmud. However, the claim to eidetic memory was later disputed.[8]
  • Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram, has been described as possessing a photographic memory.[18]
  • Sukarno, the father of Indonesian independence and the first president of the Republic of Indonesia, is said to have had a photographic memory, which helped him in his language learning.[19]
  • Nikola Tesla also is claimed to have possessed photographic memory.[20]
  • Arturo Toscanini, an Italian conductor. It was estimated that by the end of his career he had memorized over 200 symphonies and up to 100 operas.[21] "One of his second grade school teachers, Signora Vernoni, noticed that Toscanini could memorize poems after a single reading and could pick out on the piano the songs and arias he had heard people singing."[22]
  • Leonardo da Vinci is said to have possessed photographic memory.[23]
  • Swami Vivekananda is believed to have eidetic memory as he could memorize a book just by going through it for a single time.[24]
  • The mathematician John von Neumann was able to memorize a column of the phone book at a single glance.[25] Herman Goldstine wrote about him: "One of his remarkable abilities was his power of absolute recall. As far as I could tell, von Neumann was able on once reading a book or article to quote it back verbatim; moreover, he could do it years later without hesitation."[26]
  • Stephen Wiltshire is a prodigious savant,[27] capable of drawing the entire skyline of a city after a helicopter ride.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/i-developed-what-appears-to-be-a-ph/
  2. ^ http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2006/04/kaavya_syndrome.single.html
  3. ^ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/180955/eidetic-image
  4. ^ Wilding, J.M., & Valentine, E.R.: Superior Memory. Hove, England: Psychology Press (1997).
  5. ^ Woods, Joanna (2008). Facing The Music Charles Baeyertz and The Triad. Otago University Press. ISBN 978-1-877372-55-1. ,p.22-23
  6. ^ Charles F Stromeyer III, Eidetikers (November 1970). "An Adult Eidetiker" (PDF). Psychology Today: 76–80. 
  7. ^ Tarek Kerbag (12 October 2012). "Does Photographic Memory Exist?". Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Joshua Foer (27 April 2006). "Kaavya Syndrome: No one has a photographic memory". slate.com. 
  9. ^ a b Calinger, Ronald S. (2015). Leonhard Euler: Mathematical Genius in the Enlightenment. Princeton University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780691119274. 
  10. ^ Sacks, Oliver (1995). An anthropologist on Mars : seven paradoxical tales (1st ed.). New York: Vintage/Picador. p. 189. ISBN 0-679-43785-1. 
  11. ^ Adams, Lee (1 March 2006). "The Truth About Photographic Memory". psychologytoday.com. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  12. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2015/mar/13/pi-day-2015-memory-memorisation-world-record-japanese-akira-haraguchi
  13. ^ Rolf Keppler in "Ich trage einen großen Namen" (minute 6:09) on YouTube. Rolf Keppler in the German TV show "I have a great name". Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  14. ^ Tremper, Will (1 January 1993). Meine wilden Jahre. Ullstein. p. 234. ISBN 978-3-550-06046-5. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  15. ^ Seagrave, Sterling (1988). The Marcos Dynasty. Harpercollins. ISBN 0-06-015815-8. 
  16. ^ Şükran Vahide. (2005). Islam in Modern Turkey. State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-6515-2
  17. ^ Kim Peek: savant who was the inspiration for the film Rain Man
  18. ^ "Nigeria's Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in profile". BBC News. 9 May 2014. 
  19. ^ Ludwig M., Arnold (2004). King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership. University Press of Kentucky. p. 150.
  20. ^ Borowski, Susan (29 May 2012). "The brilliant and tortured world of Nikola Tesla". American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) MemberCentral. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  21. ^ "Arturo Tosanini". bpbclassics.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  22. ^ "Toscanini: A Brief Biography". arturotoscanini.org. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  23. ^ M. Rajamanickam (1 January 2007). Modern General Psychology, Second Edition (revised And Expanded) (in 2 Vols.). Concept Publishing Company. p. 434. ISBN 978-81-8069-421-9. 
  24. ^ Rangachari, Devika (1 January 2011). Swami Vivekananda: A Man with a Vision. Penguin Books Limited. p. 21. ISBN 978-81-8475-563-3. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  25. ^ Halmos, Paul (April 1973). "The Legend of von Neumann". American Mathematical Monthly. 80 (4): 382–394. doi:10.2307/2319080. 
  26. ^ The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann, by Herman Goldstine, 1972, Princeton Univ. Press, ISBN 0-691-08104-2, p. 167
  27. ^ Treffert, Darold (1989). Extraordinary People: understanding "idiot savants". New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-015945-6. 
  28. ^ David Martin. Savants: Charting "islands of genius", CNN broadcast September 14, 2006