autobiographical memory?

alright, perhaps you’ve heard about this new memory condition dubbed “autobiographical memory”. the people who have it can be told a date and then recall everything that happened to them for that day and they do it with seemingly no effort for their entire life up to an early age.

my question is whether the memory experts here think this is real or just a hidden application of mnemonics? if you feel that it’s trickery how would you go about developing a system to seem exactly like these individuals who are confirmed to have it by a couple neurology researchers?

personally I’ve been associating the date with the highlight of my day since sept 16 2013. so that’s 091613 and i memorize the images my system brings up then associated it with my grandpas grapevine because he pruned them that day, then i would make a few simple links from the grape vine to a few other things that happened that day… it works kinda well and doesn’t take much effort, but it’s nowhere near the detail these people are recalling.

so what’s the verdict?

well it’s been a week since sept 16 and i remember everything that i want to perfectly for each day whether it was what i ate, where i went, what i did, what the gas prices were or even what the weather. it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, these associations can be made during the day and reviewed in bed before going to sleep (it’s not necessary to review them more than 3 or 4 times if you space it out over a few night.

not only was i able to develop this seemingly autobiographical memory as soon as i wanted it, further reading around this forum has given me good right to be skeptical about people claiming to have natural and effortless autobiographical memory. daniel tammet for example is probably somebody who lied about his “natural” abilities and yet many scientists are convinced of his claims.

another bit of information that suggest I’m right for being skeptical is jill price, someone officially diagnosed with autobiographical memory, and guess what she was keeping one of the most detailed journals around! when confronted with the possibility she may have just memorized the whole journal, a researcher defends her by saying “Silly explanations are offered, like, she thinks about her life all the time. And therefore, memorizes her life in this amazing capacity,” he said. “That’s silly. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Do the math. There’s not enough hours in the day for her to be able to create this artificially.” as people who know how to memorize, all of our bs alarms should be going off right now!

even the possibility that jill price memorized everything using rote memorization it’s not really that silly or outlandish of a idea; after all areas of her brain associated with OCD behavior are three times the size they should be in a normal women!

so autobiographical memory seems to be a crock (at least to me), i do not believe these people are effortlessly remembering everything that happens in their lives. i even feel somewhat elated to know that i could possibly be memorizing my life faster, more efficiently, and permanently than anyone diagnosed with autobiographical memory just by using basic mnemonics. as an extra plus i can stop whenever i want since i don’t have OCD. :slight_smile:

what are your thoughts though?

Hello new friend,

I’ve been pretty interested in this topic, and it’s my opinion that there are some people out there that can do this somewhat naturally, but skeptics say that they just internally do a lot of review. I dunno. I err on the side of not believing a lot in people with “supernatural” memories. However, thankfully, whether or not it’s something that some people are born with doesn’t matter a lot, since it’s a talent you can reasonably easily develop using the techniques around here. Here a are a couple useful threads:

Photographic Memory (not the same, but obviously related) largely considered to be false around here:

The oldest thread I’ve seen about remembering your life is this:

In that thread, Lembran Sar indeed goes on to write a blog that he’s kept up to date for over two years. So far, he’s lost no days, and remembers everything he did in all of those days, and has even recovered some earlier memories. He can effortlessly move between them. The reviews do start taking a toll after a while though, so he’s had some struggles. It’s a good blog.

My more recent thread about the topic:

It’s actually very straight forward to do. The human memory can easily handle this kind of task.

hey garoth,

yeah, i think the capacity of memory is impossible to quantify and is essentially unlimited. I’m going to continue going about remembering my life with autobiographical rigor for another month or two and see if i want to continue. it seems practical if only the essential information of the day is retained (i can calculate the day of the week in my head later if i need to).

i read those threads you posted and they’re going about it a tad differently than me, some of it i like and some parts i don’t; however I’m glad to see other people thinking about this issue :slight_smile:

like i said, all my associations are formed using the link method with no real need for a memory palace. to remember 09/20/13 i start by imaging my grandpa (09) in a sherlock holmes outfit with a magnifier (20) investigating a tombstone (13) in the rain in front of my outdoor shed (rained that morning). then i associated the shed with the omlete i ate for breakfast, the omlete to an image for sleepy hollow (show), and so on until i got to my last two images; my mom (3) with a carrot sticking through her (65) which happened to be the price of gas and she was checking out the new iphones apple released; i then associated the iphone with the shed completing the loop.

i think my method is working for me. in a couple months I’ll know for sure :slight_smile: