Call it a human memory chip or whatever fancy name you could possibly conjure to articulate this 'memory feat'. This wonder woman can instantly recall dates and events, with such detail, that has caught the scientists' curiosity! She is portraying almost a perfect 10 ability to remember big events, garnished with minute details, like a calendar. California researchers are simply awed by this woman, with such an astounding memory, that could put even a computer to shame!
It's like this, just rattle of any date and there she goes - recalling the penultimate episode of the television soap-opera Dallas, or the day actor Robert Blake's wife was murdered, even the date of the Lockerbie plane crash. Not only that, she also instantly associates her actions during a recalled event and even the weather during that day.
AdvertisementWhen she was posed a question in November 2003 to describe every Easter since 1980, the 40-year-old Jewish woman supplied researchers with a list of 24 dates that elaborated on what she was up to on each of the days."April 6, 1980, 9th Grade-Easter vacation ends; April 15, 1990, make cookies, S breaks up with me next day; April 11, 1993, hang all day, spaghetti dinner with R." She does not take the help of any mnemonic devices to recall her life.
Researchers at the University of California did verify these memory outpourings with detailed entries in diaries, which she had meticulously written down from the age of 10 to 34. UC Irvine researcher James McGaugh has expressed that no scientific literature has any mention of such memory wonders. They are looking forward to performing an MRI to determine any specialties about the structure of her brain. "If there's many people like this then we can do serious science on them and find out what causes it — you can do genetic analysis for example. It's very hard to do with one subject. If we had lots of them, we could do a full-scale scientific inquiry," said McGaugh.
McGaugh said "I've tried to trick her in every way that I could." One day, he decided to question her without any prior information, about all the dates he'd interviewed her over five years. She simply rattled out, remembering the weather, personal details and the number of trips and dates when McGaugh went to Germany. "She just did it effortlessly," said McGaugh. "If I was asked `when did I take that trip to Germany, I would have been off by a year. She had the exact date."
Sobriquet in the Journal as AJ, she looks at this special ability as a mixed blessing. It also troubles her at times. "I think about the past all the time," she told McGaugh. "It's like a running movie that never stops. It's like a split screen. I'll be talking to someone and seeing something else. Like we're sitting here talking and ... in my head I'm thinking about something that happened to me in December 1982, Dec. 17, 1982, it was a Friday, I started to work at (a store)."
McGaugh is the founding director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at UC Irvine and a research professor at the University. His research team is supported by neurophysiologist Elizabeth Parker, and University of Toronto's Endel Tulving. Their findings are reported in the current edition of the journal Neurocase.