Not quite eidetic memory but...?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Thoreau, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Thoreau Valued Senior Member

    Is there a term for the ability to associate an real-life, real-time image with a memory?

    I'll try to elaborate... For as long as I can remember, I have had a fairly eidetic (photographic) memory, but not in the usual sense. I can't look at a page in a book and recite what it says (that seems to be way too impossible). I can't willingly make a "snapshot". But what my brain tends to do is that it will associate whatever I'm looking at with whatever I am doing at the time. For example, I can more often than not (but not always) recall what I was looking at when I was told something. Many months ago, I had a conversation on the phone with a friend. It was not a special conversation, and nothing exciting or ground-breaking was shared in that conversation. Today my friend and I were talking and they had forgotten they they had told me something as they started to repeat themselves. I stated that I remembered that they had in fact told me, and I remembered exactly where I was and what I was doing (and looking at) at the time, despite that said topic of conversation is very useless and meaningless. But I can do that with almost anything. It's like my brain takes a picture of what my eyes are seeing and associates that with whatever physical or auditory event is taking place... all the time. I have clear-as-day memories from when I was 2 years old all the way to yesterday. I don't remember every moment or every second, but what I do remember is extremely clear from those frequent moments that my brain does decide to "snapshot" via my eyes. I can recite every finite detail of riding a merry-go-round in the middle of a mall at the age of 3. I can tell you exactly what my grandmother was wearing, her necklace, where she was standing in my "mental photograph", even what the merry-go-round operator's clothing was and the name on his name tag. I can still recall the exact pattern of the carpet on the ground, and the shops nearby. I haven't been to that mall since then. And often times I can't pull them (these mental images) up by will. There are some that stand out (like that one), but usually it's not until an outside stimuli causes it to arise in my mind. I couldn't tell you where I was or what I was doing 5 or 10 minutes before then, but I remember that exact moment like I am in it now. And I have no reason for remembering that and not other things. I have a bunch of random, meaningless images in my head. Most of these snapshots that I am able to recall have no value.... like one of which was "taken" in my grandmother's dining room while looking at the orange laundry basket when I was 5 years old. I can see even see the angle of which the sunlight was coming through the window, the exact position of the basket and what it looked like, and even the carpet texture. But again, I can't tell you anything about the moment before or after. This also transcends into my dreams. I remember some dreams from my childhood, like one of a red firetruck in the rain that I had while sleeping at my neighbors house in the bottom bunk at the age of 6. I can tell you exactly what was in my dream, as well as everything I saw when I woke up. I can recall the morning light as it just started coming through the bedroom. I can recall the blue paint and star stickers on the wall, and the exact colors and position of each sticker. I can still see the rain of the wood of the bunk bed as I opened my eyes. These images have absolutely no importance whatsoever, but they're there - burned into my mind. Some fade after time. I've had memories like that fade with age. But others stick like glue. I don't know how else to describe this.

    Can someone please help me out and explain to me what this may be, or if there is a name for this?


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