What is Hyperthymesia?
Do you remember what you had for dinner two years ago today? What about two weeks ago? Most of us do not have a clue. But a small number of people, can remember such events in great detail. They have a condition called hyperthymesia syndrome. This is often referred to as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM). Hyperthymesia is a condition in which an individual possesses a superior autobiographical memory, meaning he or she can recall the vast majority of personal experiences and events in his or her life.
The term “hyperthymesia" is derived from the Greek words thymesis meaning "remembering," and hyper meaning "excessive".Individuals with hyperthymesia can recall almost every day of their lives in near perfect detail, as well as public events that hold some personal significance to them. They can remember back to things that happened to them in the crib, and can often recall in great detail every single event they've experienced, no matter how minor it is. They can remember the Rwandan Genocide that occured on Wednesday of 6 April 1994. They can probably remember what is the type and colour of clothes they wore that day.
Those affected describe their memories as uncontrollable associations, when they encounter a date, they "see" a vivid depiction of that day in their heads. Recollection occurs without hesitation or conscious effort. According to a research made, only 60 people across the world are known to have hyperthymesia. Some of them are:
Jill Price who was born on December 30, 1965. She is an American woman, from Southern California, who has been diagnosed with hyperthymesia. She was the first person to receive such a diagnosis, and it was her case that inspired research into hyperthymesia. She has co-authored a book on the subject.
Price is able to recite details of every day of her life from the time when she was fourteen years old. She can recall various obscure moments of her life in great detail. Her condition, termed hyperthymesia, or "hyperthymestic syndrome", is characterized by a highly superior autobiographical memory. Her case was originally researched by a team at the University of California, Irvine—Elizabeth Parker, Larry Cahill and James McGaugh. Price can apparently recall every day of her life from when she was 14 years old.
"Starting on February 5th, 1980, I remember everything. That was a Tuesday."
The first report on the study of her brain was published in 2006. In 2008, with Bart Davis, she wrote the book The Woman Who Can't Forget, explaining her life with the condition. The book has allowed her popularity to soar internationally, leading to a demand in public appearances.
So in this page, we are going to discuss deeper about hyperthymesia (HSAM). We are going to discuss about the causes, the diagnosis for hyperthymesia and the treatments.