Eidetic/Photographic Memory vs Working Memory

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Mama_to_Grace
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17 Sep 2010, 11:48 am

My daughter displayed some amazing memory skills on Wednesday evening. She has always had an amazing capacity for memory (remembering events that happened years ago with amazing clarity-as though they happened yesterday). She was watching a tv program and stopped the image and rewound to a specific scene with a library and bookcases. She paused it and pointed to an obscure book spine and said she saw this book at her father's house. He father is an avid reader, with piles and piles of books at his house. He happened to be there and stated that yes, he did have that specific book somewhere in his house (didn't remember where). My daughter rarely goes to his house (has only been there perhaps twice in the past year). We were really amazed that she "remembered" this particular book and saw it in a glimpse of a bookcase on a tv show. I have really started thinking about her memory and capabilities in this area.

When she was tested by the neuropsych she scored 99.9th% in immdiate recall of digits but scored 6th% on "Working memory" or memory that was delayed. How can she score so low on delayed memory and then have this profound talent for remembering obscure things for years?

Does anyone know the difference in these 2 memory types or know how to explain this?

Thanks!



iceb
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17 Sep 2010, 12:28 pm

This is personal observation not from a textbook:

I am told I rely heavily on visual memory, A kind of long term memory that enables me when in an exam to recall lessons (I can tell you where I was sitting and remember the voice of an instructor in a lesson 40 years ago). Because of this I can pass exams even though I am very dyslexic.
Working memory is the memory required to plan and multitask in which i am weak.

The former long term memory is like a CD or Tape it is always there although sometimes it might be difficult to find the right part of the right one you require but may be accessed in any sequence. (the human mind accesses things by association)

Working memory it seems to me can be likened to old fashioned delay line memory used in early computers it will hold a set of instructions in sequence but has a limited capacity and after each cycle the information must be rewritten or lost.

Greater demand is made on working memory the more intelligent you are because more ideas are flowing into and out of it.


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angelbear
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17 Sep 2010, 3:34 pm

I don't know much about this topic, but my son who is 5 displays similar memory type incidents. He remembers peoples faces from pictures that we met 3 yrs ago (he was 2). He knows what kind of car all of the teachers at his school drive! LOL! They get a kick out of it. Sometimes his memory scares me. All I can say is that hopefully this gift can be used as a strength in some type of career.
Our kids are amazing in so many ways!



Marcia
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17 Sep 2010, 7:14 pm

My son has a similarly amazing memory. When he was younger he used to talk about "going through the photographs in his head" when he was remembering something. He can also remember verbatim conversations we had years ago.



DW_a_mom
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17 Sep 2010, 7:16 pm

Does she maybe have what we think of as a photographic memory? If the memory test was verbal, it would has missed that. Not my area of expertise, but it certainly sounds like she has a very strong memory - just, maybe, a very specialized one.

Standardized testing often misses subtle and unique differences. I would have it looked into, as more fully understanding how she stores information will help her education.


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17 Sep 2010, 8:26 pm

Mama_to_Grace wrote:
My daughter displayed some amazing memory skills on Wednesday evening. She has always had an amazing capacity for memory (remembering events that happened years ago with amazing clarity-as though they happened yesterday). She was watching a tv program and stopped the image and rewound to a specific scene with a library and bookcases. She paused it and pointed to an obscure book spine and said she saw this book at her father's house. He father is an avid reader, with piles and piles of books at his house. He happened to be there and stated that yes, he did have that specific book somewhere in his house (didn't remember where). My daughter rarely goes to his house (has only been there perhaps twice in the past year). We were really amazed that she "remembered" this particular book and saw it in a glimpse of a bookcase on a tv show. I have really started thinking about her memory and capabilities in this area.

When she was tested by the neuropsych she scored 99.9th% in immdiate recall of digits but scored 6th% on "Working memory" or memory that was delayed. How can she score so low on delayed memory and then have this profound talent for remembering obscure things for years?

Does anyone know the difference in these 2 memory types or know how to explain this?

Thanks!


Hi

Your post had me researching for a couple hours and the best I can suggest is to go to wikipedia and search for Brain function, memory.

In short, there is the memory used to recall a phone number long enough to write it down and the memory used to store info for long periods. That description is good enough for brain function in NTs (neuro-typicals, (those dreaded 'normal' people), but there is also the ability to filter out what is necessary from everything else going on. Most people have the ability to do that on the fly, some, including some people on the spectrum, don't.

>> Although it's not exactly the same, this link will bring you to an abstract of an article about someone who lacks the ability to turn off their memories. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg1 ... -mind.html <<

Some ASDs have sensory issues where they 'record' everything and must decode the info before it is available for retrieval. It appears that they must process their input before it can be used. If they are asked to produce what they recently heard/saw, but not immediately before, they may not have finished unscrambling it. If they are given the same test later that day, or on a different day, they may be able to score in the top %ile and remember what the examiner wore and the weather, etc.