Imagine being able to look at a picture and instantly have it converted to memory, having the ability to recall it in perfect detail on command. Now, imagine that everything you see in life is that way: stored like a digital photo in you brain that can be recalled at any point. This idea is what people consider an eidetic or “photographic” memory, and people that have it are extremely rare. Scientists have been studying the notion of photographic memories for decades, but there is no concrete evidence that it actually exists. Sure, some people have better memories than others, but that typically just has to do with an individual’s brain just like having a talent or skill does.
Buy an “Intelligence is sexy” t-shirt!
That being said, there have even been people who have exhibited signs of having a truly immeasurable memory. Tesla, for instance, claimed to have a photographic memory that allowed him to memorize entire books. President Theodore Roosevelt had the ability to recite entire pages of the newspapers that he read. He also read on average 2-3 books a day, some believe as a result of his incredible memory. The only person to ever show signs of a truly eidetic memory is a woman named Elizabeth who actually has the ability to look at two separate patterns of dots and combine them in her mind like one of those “Magic Eye” pictures.
The idea of having a truly “photographic” memory is both fascinating and scary. Imagine being able to remember in intense detail every bad thing that you’ve ever experienced. One of the most important things a mind can do sometimes is to forget something. Then again, imagine never having to study. All you would have to do is take a glance at a page, and you’d know everything you needed. The implications of truly having a photographic memory may seem awesome on the surface, but could be mentally traumatizing.
Below is a simple test from Playbuzz that will test how “photographic” your memory really is.