What is a Photographic or Eidetic Memory?
Some people have the ability to recall many details of a scene, as if the scene were actually presently in front of them, much like a photo being held in their brain. These people are said to have photographic memories, or eidetic memories. Eidetic images are perfect copies of an actual image and they can stay in the mind of a person with a photographic memory without being distorted or changed in any way.
- This is an especially useful trait to have. For example, during an exam, a person with a photographic memory could simply see the pages of the textbook in their mind as they retrieved the information needed. These memories can last for days, and sometimes even weeks.
- Eidetic images are most common in children. The number of people able to produce these images dwindles in adolescence, and is very rare in adulthood.
- Most "memory experts" (like those people that can memorise decks of cards) do not have eidetic memory. Instead they tend to rely on organising the information well and using memory techniques such as mnemonics and narrative chaining.
Testing For Eidetic Memory: Eidetic Memory Test
Do you have a photographic memory? To test your memory, observe the image below for 20 seconds. Do not read any of the text below the picture until you have finished.
Okay, now try to answer these questions:
- Is the chimney on the house to the left or right side of the roof?
- Is the bear with the green overalls on the right or left?
- How many of the fence posts are visible?
- What colour is the door of the house?
- What colour are the buttons on the overalls of the bears?
- How many clouds are there?
- Where is the rainbow emerging from?
- Which bear has its eyes shut?
- What is the colour of the handle of the umbrella?
- How many toes do the bears have?
If you managed to successfully answer all of those questions, you may have an eidetic memory!
x on October 13, 2014:
I have an eidetic memory possibly caused by severe processing disorders with all five senses. I have what I call an eidetic-photographic memory, meaning that every detail is remembered in the short term and upwards of ninety percent is retained in the long term. Eidetic tends to be the directly afterwards part of memory, while photographic lasts for years or my entire life. Scientific journals tend to distinguish as such. Also, photographic tends to be exclusive to any sense besides sight, while people with eidetic memories can access all senses. As I use eidetic-photographic memory, it means to have all five senses in the long term.
I hope I've helped!
Steve dellavecchia on September 30, 2014:
Look I took the test and only missed one question. Does it mean I am special. I do not think so. But I have been recalling pictures and things my whole life and wondered why. I still do not have the answer. But would like some.
Kristy Callan (author) from Australia on June 13, 2013:
Thank you for your comments, Ari and Nyannyandemonai.
Yes, this is not a scientific test, it is just a fun test meant to be taken to give an indication of whether or not a person may have photographic memory. I have said that in the article.
Do you care to elaborate on your comments that eidetic memory and photographic memory are not the same thing, and 'much different'? If I am wrong I will certainly fix it. To the best of my knowledge, the terms are used interchangeably. I could not find any reliable sources that said otherwise.
Ari on June 13, 2013:
This is a misleading article. That test is a very simplified version of how one might determine photographic memory. Eidetic memory is much different. It includes great photographic recall, but is much more complex & full-sensory.
PeaceAndLove on June 03, 2013:
Brad u are such a liar
And, u r just saying the test is dumb to make everyone who took this test feel bad
Brad is a big liar and is really mean
He lies to make people feel bad but to feel good about himself! What a jerk
And, he brags
Brag brag brag... Brag... Brag... Bragging!!!!! I know lots of people who do the same thing
And I'm not 1 of them
Whoever is reading this, post " I agree with Amanda" if you agree
And if you don't agree post " I don't agree with Amanda "
Anyways, have a nice day everyone ( except brad. U were mean. U don't deserve to be happy or to have a nice life... Bragging brad, I wish I knew who your friends were or what their phone #s or email addresses were so I could tell them all that ur a big jerk and that they have to call you bragging brad for the rest of their lives. What am I saying? That makes no sense! You don't have any friends!) posted by Amanda. June 3rd 2013. 19 years old. Have a good day ( not bragging brad of course)
NyanNyandemonai on June 03, 2013:
Photographic Memory is Differet from Eidetic Memory -_-
the article is a bit misleading
Brad on April 21, 2013:
This test is silly to me . I have a streaming video memory and its not the same . Do you watch a movie and remember the placement of furniture in a scene, the sounds , feeling ? I do if I was in the movie and that's how my memories are stored from childhood .This test seems like it was made by someone's idea of what an eidetic memory should be according to a definition someone made up that didn't have one.
Dillon on August 20, 2012:
what a bunch of liars taking the test, hahaha....
34% say they have eidetic memory and 44% think they do, leaving 22% not having it, hahah
Eidetic memory is exceptionally rare in adults
Kristy Callan (author) from Australia on May 31, 2011:
Agreed about memory being a double edge sword... there was this one guy who had such a good memory he could remember things for years without even trying.
It was hard for him because, for example, every time he read a book, he would remember all the previous times he had read a book and the words he had read back then.
In desperation, he ended up writing words on paper and burning them, hoping that he would not remember them any more.
RedmanBrendan from Dallas, Texas on May 31, 2011:
Ah but Winsome, peace is the enemy of memory. We don't like to, but we need to remember the past for the same reasons we all should know some history. If we repeat the mistakes of the past we can't move forward :)
I got all of them right except the number of fenceposts, interesting topic though! Voted up for sure!
Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on May 31, 2011:
Fun topic Kristy. I knew a young Japanese man in college who had the ability to point out the position on the page of anything we picked out at random in a textbook he had read. I told him he was so lucky to have that ability and he looked at me with pained, old man eyes and said "Yes, but you have terrible dreams."
Memory is a double-edge sword. If we could only remember the good things about our friends and family and forget immediately the offenses, we would have a real talent--kind of like the line in "Hotel California"....Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.
There is an intriguing romance/mystery about Elizabeth, the only lab-verified eidetic and the researcher who married her. I will have to look into that. =:)