March 14, 2006


Scientists awed by `human calendar': Stunned by woman's near-perfect ability to recall big events and the tiniest details (FRANCINE KOPUN, Mar. 14, 2006, Toronto Star)

California researchers have uncovered a woman with a memory so detailed and unusual they have quite literally never seen anything like it.

Give her a date and she can tell you what took place — whether it was the final episode of the television soap-opera Dallas, the day actor Robert Blake's wife was killed, the day of the Lockerbie plane crash, the Iranian invasion of the U.S. Embassy, the day Proposition 13 passed in California or the day a plane crashed in Chicago. She can tell you what she was doing at the time. She remembers the weather.

Her life is like a movie on an endless loop, full of emotion. She cannot escape any good or bad thing that ever happened to her.

Asked in November 2003 to list every Easter since 1980, the 40-year-old Jewish woman provided researchers with a list of 24 dates that had one single error. She included details of what she was doing on each of the days.

Ask any Jewish son, all their mothers have encyclopedic memories....

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 14, 2006 10:12 AM

Contrary to our intuition, thermodynamics tells us that there is no lower boundry on the amount of energy required for computation, but there is a lower bound on the amount of energy required to drop data.

Thinking is cheap; forgetting is hard.

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 14, 2006 10:56 AM

Joseph Hertzlinger beat me to the punch....

There are other memory savants besides the redoubtable Mr. S (Luria's patient). I read recently of a man who had memorized a couple thousand books (novels, nonfiction, all types) and given a character, could name the pages he appeared in, the context of those appearances, the verbatim dialog of that character, etc. Amazing.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at March 14, 2006 2:49 PM

Funes the Memorious!

Posted by: Taeyoung at March 14, 2006 4:51 PM

My ex always did call me the "tape recorder head." :)

Posted by: sharon at March 14, 2006 7:03 PM