Most people are able to recall big moments in their lives, but a select few are able to recall minute details of almost every day.
Marilu Henner recently explained to CBS 2′s Katie McGee how her Highly Superior Auto-Biographical Memory, or H-SAM, has allowed her to hold onto even the most minor of moments.
“Every single thing that you have ever done is on your hard drive,” she explained.
Henner’s skill came naturally, but she told CBS 2 that there are ways that everybody can drastically improve their memory. By revisiting experiences and events in your life, you can train your brain, she said.
Henner also suggested adding what she calls “juice” to your day, because memory is tied to adrenaline.
“You can like, do the laundry, do the kitty litter, go to the dentist. Or, you could DO THE LAUNDRY! Take pride in it,” she said.
Henner said she believes that by improving your memory you can live a more conscious life.
People’s memory abilities are all a little bit different, for sure. But there are several things here that made me squish up my face and wonder why anyone would consider an actress a reliable source for telling us how our brains work. Perhaps she does have this condition. But not many people do. So, I don’t think it’s sharable. Instead, her advice for better memory sounds like a self-help pitch. New book maybe? I’ll stick to memory explanations from professional researchers, thanks.
Also, she is confusing memory with mindfulness – a state of being aware of things happening around you, not just on auto-pilot.
Memory isn’t a hard drive. That’s oversimplifying it by a lot. Our memory is incredibly prone to distortion and you can’t rely on it to be an accurate representation of your life events. Sure, some people are more observant. But even if you try, most of us are pretty bad at taking in details about our surroundings. There’s a reason for that. We would be overwhelmed with information. Wonder how Marilu gets through the day with all that remembering going on. It turns out that it IS hard.
“Hyperthymestic” abilities do have downsides. The constant thinking about memories can cause disruption in your daily life. It can be a burden and exhausting to always be remembering. It was noted by a person with this ability that it can make it difficult to concentrate on the present or future if you are always thinking about your life in the past.
See more here in a piece on Sci Am.