Is photographic memory real?
Ever since I heard about photographic memory as a kid, I was always fascinated and pretty jealous of the people who could just look at a picture or a page on a book and just memorize it.
I mean if I had photographic memory, I know I would have probably done a lot better in high school. I wanted to do some research and really figure out if photographic memory is actually a thing, or if it is just what smart people tell everyone else to make themselves seem cooler.
I did some research on the internet and there is actually a more scientific name for photographic memory, eidetic imagery. Eidetic imagery is defined as a normal subjective visual image experienced with noticeable vividness whether evoked by an actual external object or not. So to explain that, you can put a picture in from of an eidetiker for 30 seconds, then remove it, and the person will confidently claim to still see the picture in their head. They can describe the picture just like it is still in front of them. The funny thing about people with photographic memory describe the objects or images in their head in the present tense as if they are looking at it right then and there.
Eidetic memory is different then just memorizing or learning something. It is kind of cheating the system and storing the image in your head without fully learning it. You may think that you could have this photographic memory because you can remember a photo that was taken or a page from a book really well, but the difference with eidetic memory is that their memories will fade away involuntarily. They usually tend to last for a half a minute to several minutes only. During that time period is when the person will go over it in their head so they can learn it without using their photographic memory. There is a lot of psychology that goes into this, and you can read more about it here.
So you must think, how can I get this? The thing is that mostly younger people have it, it there is no research that adults possess this ability to form eidetic images. So it seems that really you get it or you don’t and it could fade away the older you get as the worse your memory gets. Which is unfortunate, because I am sure buys adults could really benefit from using this imagery.
So in the end, photographic memory is real, it is just called eidetic imagery, and it might not be as literal as having a storage of photos of things in your head. But there definitely is evidence that this phenomenon is real. If you have any thoughts on this, or you know anyone who has photographic memory, comment on this post and talk about it!