Mnemonist are people having exceptional memory to remember and recall unusually long lists of data, such as unfamiliar names, lists of numbers, entries in books, etc. Such individuals have been described as possessing an eidetic memory, photographic memory or total recall, although whether such abilities are innate behavior or somehow learned appears somewhat contentious. Eidetic memory, photographic memory, or total recall is the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with extreme accuracy and in abundant volume.
How did they attain this eidetic memory, photographic memory or total recall ??
Eidetic memory; if by birth; as observed in children is typified by the ability of an individual to study an image for approximately 30 seconds, and maintain a nearly perfect photographic memory of that image for a short time once it has been removed—indeed such eidetikers claim to "see" the image on the blank canvas as vividly and in as perfect detail as if it were still there.
Some individuals with autism display extraordinary memory, including those with related conditions such as Asperger's syndrome. Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and people with it therefore show significant difficulties in social interaction, along with stereotypies and other restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
Synesthesia has also been credited as an enhancement of auditory memory, but only for information that triggers a synesthetic reaction. Synesthesia is a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. However, some synesthetes have been found to have a more acute than normal "perfect color" sense with which they are able to match color shades nearly perfectly after extended periods of time, without the accompanying synesthetic reaction.
What is the difference between a person having a well capable memory & these Mnemonist ??
People who have a generally capable memory often use mnemonic devices to retain information while those with eidetic memory remember very specific details, such as where a person was standing, what the person was wearing, etc. They may recall an event with great detail while those with a normal memory remember daily routines rather than specific details that may have interrupted a routine.
What is sporadic eidetic memory ??
It's the case where normal people may describe a rather limited number of memories in very close detail. These sporadic occurrences of eidetic memory are not triggered consciously in most cases.
Name a few Mnemonist.....
- Harry Lorayne
- Dominic O'Brien
- Kim Peek
- Shass Pollak
- S.V. Shereshevskii
- James Paterson
- Swami Vivekananda, famous Indian philosopher and guru. It was recorded in The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda that he had memorized ten volumes of encyclopedia in very few days. He explains his powers as "simply by the observance of strict Brahmacharya (continence) all learning can be mastered in a very short time -- one has an unfailing memory of what one hears or knows but once".
- Sukarno, the father of Indonesian independence and the first president of The Republic of Indonesia, had a photographic memory, which helped him in his languages learning.
- Luke Mason, a British male able to memorize large pieces of texts, such as text books and strings of numbers after reading them once and recalling with perfect accuracy. Luke also has a gift for natural languages and he experiences synaesthesia.
- Napoleon Bird was an English barber in the 19th century. According to The Oxford Companion to Music (6th edition, 1945), he showed a massive feat of memory by "...publicly playing for forty-four hours without repeating a composition; from 11pm to 3am he played dance music for hundreds of couples, and, during the subsequent forty hours, whenever any vocalist or instrumentalist appeared and asked to be accompanied, the mere statement of the piece and the key required were sufficient."
- Hans von Bülow was a 19th century pianist and conductor with what could be described as a perfect musical memory. He could play both Brahms' and Beethoven's entire piano works from memory, and conducted the first performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde without the score, having never heard it before but studying the score pre-emptively, which was enough for him to memorise a work — he did not need to hear it.
- Stephen Wiltshire, MBE, is a prodigious savant, capable of drawing the entire skyline of a city after a helicopter ride.
- Wynne Kulman, able to memorize textbooks, serial numbers, and other documents after reading them just once.
- Erin Freedman, able to memorize long streams of numbers after hearing them just once.
- Kim Peek, prodigious savant
- Tom Morton, a taxi driver, knew over 16,000 telephone numbers in Lancashire and beat the British Olympia Telephone Exchange computer with his recall while being interviewed by Esther Rantzen and Adrian Mills on the popular BBC magazine programme That's Life! in 1993.
- Nikola Tesla
- Said Nursî, a Turkish Islamic scholar who was able to recite many books from memory. For instance "... So then he [Molla Fethullah] decided to test his memory and handed him a copy of the work by Al-Hariri of Basra (1054-1122) — also famous for his intelligence and power of memory — called Maqamat al-Hariri. Molla Said read one page once, memorized it, then repeated it by heart. Molla Fethullah expressed his amazement."
- Abbie Hoffman, leader of the Yippie movement, claims to have eidetic memory in his 1968 book Revolution for the Hell of It.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart appeared to have a perfect musical memory (whether this is related to eidetic memory remains to be argued). As a young adolescent, he wrote down Allegri's Misere entirely from memory after hearing it only once, making only minor corrections later. Others such as Ludwig van Beethoven have shown similar capacity, personally premiering a piano concerto and performing without the piano part.
- Business tycoon Charles M. Schwab could remember the names of 8,000 employees.
- Andriy Slyusarchuk, a Ukrainian professor from Lviv, achieved a world record on February 28, 2006 after having memorized 5,100 numbers in two minutes.
- Sergei Rachmaninov, one of Russia's most famous composers and pianists, is said to have been able to perfectly recall any musical score after sight reading it just twice.
- Desi Arnaz, husband of Lucille Ball and co-star of I Love Lucy was able to memorize his script after reading it through once.