We learned in the Memory chapter about persons with exceptional memories, like those with eidetic memories or echoic memories.
One of my favorite shows, Psych, features a main character with an eidetic memory who uses this characteristic to his advantage in solving crimes. He claims to be a psychic and uses his memory to solve the crimes with his "psychic abilities". It's a very funny and clever show, if you haven't seen it, go watch it.
Another show that I love, Criminal Minds, also has a character with an eidetic memory. Fictional Dr. Spencer Reid uses his memory of things he's read or seen to help solve the crimes.
I'm really curious about the whole concept of eidetic memory. From Wikipedia and our textbook, it's defined as "the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with extreme precision and in abundant volume." With such an extraordinary claim, it really should be backed up.
I'm just baffled on how this is even possible. I think I have a pretty good memory, and I know that during tests I can recall whole pages in my notebook or textbook about the information being tested--it's not super precise, but does that mean that I can have a semi-eidetic memory? Or is my memory just really good? How is a person classified as having an eidetic memory?
I looked it up and found some interesting information. Wikipedia says, "there are distinct differences in the manner in which information is processed. People who have a generally capable memory often use mnemonic devices to retain information while those with eidetic memory remember very specific details, such as where a person was standing, what the person was wearing, etc. They may recall an event with greater detail while those with a different memory remember daily routines rather than specific details that may have interrupted a routine..." Interesting.
I read on and found that this topic is still a subject of skepticism. Many psychologists have conducted studies testing eidetic memory and have found different results. I don't know what to believe. Could good memories just be a result of rehearsal or repeated exposure? Strong attention to detail? There are many claims, and with every extraordinary claims there has to be sufficient evidence to back it up.
From what I've read, as of 2008, no one has been able to claim long-term eidetic memory in a scientific setting.
So until then, I'll just enjoy the antics of Shawn Spencer on Psych and the drama on Criminal Minds.
Source: Lilienfield textbook, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eidetic_memory