Mental Health

Hyperthymesia: Is Superior Autobiographical Memory a Superpower?


Hyperthymesia is a rare mental condition that allows a person to retain large pieces of memories to the smallest detail. This uncommon condition is also known as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM)

Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to remember everything! Not just the really important events that occurred in the past but also the very little insignificant ones such as the meals you had two years ago for a straight week, or perhaps recite the first five pages of a book you have only read once. This seems like a supercomputer type of thing right, Or perhaps the effect of an alien abduction? Well, there are people, only a few, who can actually retain such memory.

This condition was termed “hyperthymesia” by Irvine, a Neurobiologist, while demonstrating the extraordinary memory of one of his subjects found with the rare condition. To date, there have been very few cases of hyperthymesia as research is ongoing to further understand the complexities of the human mind. This research has the potential to unlock the untapped resources of the mind as well as alleviate cases of amnesia.

What Makes Hyperthymesia so Bizarre?

Individuals with HSAM have what is known as autobiographical memory which recalls all kinds of memories such as images, events, dates conversations, scent, taste, and more.

At an early stage, children are taught to memorize information using a poem, nursery rhymes and a lot. Children or adults with hyperthymesia do not require mnemonics to memorize small or large pieces of information. The most inexplicable and impressive feat is the ability to capture the exact image of what is seen in a room and taking note of where every single object is, just by taking one brief glance.

The causes of hyperthymesia are yet unknown, however medical researchers have noticed a difference between the regular brain structure and that of an individual with hyperthymesia. The reason for the difference is yet unknown. Perhaps It is due to the fact the brain is tasked much more than regular of maybe it is a structural anomaly that comes with the condition.

Hyperthymesia may seem like a gift, perhaps even a superpower, and there is no downside to it. Though research is still ongoing, the condition does indicate possibilities of a continuing evolution which can be further nurtured or perhaps replicated when the circuitry of the human mind is better understood.



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