Hello again. As some of you know, I am here to explore and share stuff about my unusual memory. For this post I need your opinion because I am not sure myself. This topic is not about photographic memory as photographic memory has not yet been proven to exist. Eidetic memory is not the same as photographic memory.
To this day, I am still trying to figure out if I am a savant or a synesthete or an eidetiker or all of them. The way I work with numbers suggest synesthesia, numbers have traits, personalities and feelings to me. Some feats also suggest I am a savant, like my ability to recall the release year of almost all the movies I have ever seen after seeing it once. Now, this is the part where the lines become blurry.
Some feats of mine are like those of a savant, however, unlike savants, I can explain what I do and how I do it and the way I do it is not unusual but only the memory required to do this is unusual. Most savants don’t know how they calculate 937×478 quickly in their heads or how they know that date x is on a tuesday, they just “know”. This where I differ. I can tell you how I calculate 937×478 in my head, I go from left to right and I actually see the numbers, I literally see 937×478 in my mind and also the steps I take to calculate it; first 400×937, then 70×900 and I add that to the product of 400×937 and continue adding the products of 70×30, 70×7, 8×900, 8×30 and 8×7 to the product of 400×937. There is nothing special about this except the memory capacity needed to do this in your mind quickly.
After a lot of reading, this might suggest a different type of memory than savant syndrome or synesthesia all together, called eidetic memory. Which is a rare thing by itself as it seems virtually non-existent in adults.
Another experience of mine also suggests eidetic memory. I noticed that when I am, i.e., watching a video about something new I am trying to learn, that I often remember the contents of the video for entire days.
About 6 months or so I was learning math for a short while. I remember how satisfying it felt to still know all the equations of the first, second, third and fourth video while I was busy watching the 5th without ever looking back or writing anything down. I made my notes a couple of days after seeing the videos and I knew every equation still, even the meaning behind each symbol too. I stopped learning math because of personal matters but I am going to start again soon. I had the same experience when learning HTML and CSS. I could just see the things I needed to know in my mind like how I saw it in the videos. My first ever experience of this was with a Bob Ross video cx.
After watching a 60 minute video of him painting, I could tell you step by step how he painted, what he painted and even the colors he mixed before using them on the canvas. This experience only lasts a couple of days as far as I can tell and then I forget what I learned like everyone else. An odd thing though is that I often actually have a harder time learning the material again. I think this might be because my heart is not in it, not the way it was the first time encountering the material. I even feel that the material isn’t sticking in my mind like it was the first time. It is the same feeling I get when I see a number I don’t like, it doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t stick as well in my mind as a number that I do like.
Another odd but simple feat that suggest eidetic memory is my ability to solve a wordsearch after learning the location of each word and then solve the wordsearch without the list of words. The way I do it is I start with the first word of the list, find its location in the puzzle and then continue with the second word and so on. I only need to see them once on short lists, like 30 words. The process is the same with lists of 40+ words but I might repeat all the locations of the words in my head again. When I know all the locations of the words, I can just cover the list of words with my hand and solve the puzzle by checking each letter.
This is how it looks like when I’ve done a puzzle. I’ve written the answer underneath. As you can see, I don’t need to mark any words, I know all the words and their locations.
It doesn’t always workout of course. In this one I messed up the order of the letters I found, otherwise I could’ve guessed the word “rasta”. These puzzels are in dutch, the language spoken here in the Netherlands.
But what do you guys think? Is this eidetic memory?
I often have a feeling that I might be all three of the memory types. Daniel Tammet is a savant with synesthesia, perhaps I am a savant with synesthesia and an eidetic memory. Another possibility is that I only have an eidetic memory and synesthesia and that my feats are similar to that of a savant because of my odd memory. But the meaning of savant has changed over time, it now means someone with exceptional skills that are impressive for the average person since the discovery of acquired savants, which my skills are since I don’t use any techniques and this is just pure my brainpower, this puts me back into the category of a savant. Perhaps some of you can even relate to this somehow, any advice is appreciated.