Superior Autobiographical Memory

Imagine what it might be like to have perfect recall of every day of your life. 60 Minutes aired a fascinating story on five people who have Superior Autobiographical Memory–the ability to recall every day of their lives with frightening accuracy.

The discovery of people with instant access to virtually every day of their lives could recast our whole understanding of how human memory works, and what is possible. And that has implications for all of us.

MRI scans on five of the six participants revealed an abnormally large temporal lobe, (an area of the brain believed to help store new memories) and an abnormally large caudate nucleus–an area of the brain involved in learning and memory and in obsessive compulsive disorders–traits of which all five exhibit in varying degrees.

Is it possible we all have memories of every day tucked away in our brains, but we just can’t retrieve them? Could understanding these remarkable people someday help with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders?

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