People, like Marilu Henner, who remember nearly every moment of their life


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/24/people-like-marilu-henner-wh.html


#2

Marilu Henner is an absolute treasure. She was delightful on My Brother, My Brother and Me.


#3

It does seem like a burden to me. I’m boring enough without having to remember every tedious detail.


#4

Makes sense that at least some people with superior autobiographical memory would be actors since an acting career already benefits from an above average memory.

I have enough trouble remembering to mark days on my calendar in my prosthetic memory (smart phone) so it can remind me.

Glad this condition exists though because one of my greatest fears is Alzheimer’s and maybe researching this condition can aid in the development of treatments or cures.


#6

Why I love the Intertubes:

From this article: “that only she and 10 other people in the world are proven by tests to possess”

From the linked Wikipedia page: “As of April 2016, six cases of hyperthymesia have been confirmed in peer-reviewed articles,”

From the “Previously” link in the article: “Only about 60 other people on earth share her condition”


#7

I wonder how much of this is superior storage of memories, and how much is superior retrieval processes?


#8

I think we can conclude that there ain’t many of them.

There clearly is some disagreement about the number of people diagnosed. “Diagnosed” and "confirmed in peer-reviewed articles aren’t the same thing, either.


#10

You’d think somebody would remember.


#11

It’s a nicely produced piece. Good idea to actually show footage of the public events the subjects are asked to recall – it really allows the viewer to experience the objective verification of the phenomenon.


#12

image


#13

The question reveals a paradigmatic approach to the understanding of memory that may be incorrect. Or perhaps the question is apt for these people, but not for most of us.

It carries the assumption that complete memories are stored in a memory bank, and that some part of our brain can go and access them. As the science of memory progresses, they are discovering that the entire paradigm may be wrong. What we actually have is a complex web of facts, semantic constructions, and a gajillion connections between all of them. Instead of operating like a computer, the suggestion is that we actually “recreate” memories from scratch, using these pieces and connections.

This model better accounts for issues like false memories, deja vu, etc.

(I am not a brain scientist, I just find it really interesting)


#14

I subscribe to the “They all rolled over and one fell out” theory; after a certain age, adding a new memory means that an older memory falls over the edge, because there’s only so much room. :smile:


#15

Well, the memorious are too busy to keep track of these studies.

I hope it doesn’t become a curse like it was for Funes.


#16

Or the question was actually attempting to find out if memory works that way (“superior retrieval” == hey it really does work like a computer, v. “superior storage” == or not so much).

Yeah, a lot of research points in that direction, some of it shows the created “memories” are actually the ones the subjects believe the most.

Humans are funny little creatures.


#17

…and how much is just skillful storytelling, intentional or unconscious? Remember those three people who witness a car crash, and all report different colored cars.


#18

There are 7.6 billion people on earth


#19

No, I forgot…


#20

Of course. But they were all cited as part of this piece, with no explanation of differentiation.


#21

Wow, it would be really, really hard being married to her!

“honey, i asked you to pickup milk on the way home”. “Nope. I’d have remembered.”

“honey, I never said that”. “Sure you did. November eleventh. At the coffee shop, right before you ordered that gawdawful caramel mocha pumpkin macchiato, on which you overtipped the barista, Tabitha.”


#22

Never lie to Marilu Henner.