warning: possible pseudoscience content, but maybe interesting
Experiments show, that when you put a rat in a maze he (or she) will try to find the way to the exit (or cheese). The next time he is put in the same maze, he will find the exit faster. No suprise here.
But things get weird when the same experiment is repeated on the other side of the planet; these rats learn faster than the original rats.
Rupert Sheldrake explains this experiment with a theory called morphic fields; information that is being stored outside human/animal brains. According to this theory brains can not only store information but also tap into the information contained in morphic fields (like a computer connected to the internet).
This theory may explain why chess grandmasters keep getting better every generation; the advancement of chess engines (computer chess) may also be an explanation of course.
Could it be that a memory prodigy like Alex Mullen is tapping into the morphic fields created by the likes of Dominique o’Brien and Ben Pridmore and therefore having somewhat of a flying start?