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Hyperthymesia and Marilu Henner’s Brain

06 May

How well do you remember the happenings in your life? We all tell stories about past events—funny, tragic, interesting, odd. But how much detail do you actually remember? If someone tosses a date at you, can you remember exactly what you did that day, that week? All that information is stored in your brain (your hard drive), but can you retrieve it?

Marilu Henner can. So can others who share her unusual ability called hyperthymesia, or Highly Superior Auto-Biographical Memory (H-SAM).

 


The brain is a very odd organ and memory and recall are two of its most mystifying functions.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

11 responses to “Hyperthymesia and Marilu Henner’s Brain

  1. CJ Snyder

    May 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Sure would help with being an actress! Read the lines once and there they are! Having acted before, I know it would be a major help!

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  2. Miki

    May 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    She has a book out on how to improve your memory but has been interviewed also in relationship to the show *Unforgettable*, which is an entertaining police show about a woman with this gift. Ms. Henner played a part in one of the episodes.

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  3. Jim Facciuto

    May 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Dude….that’s You Doug……you can name your 1st grade class….it’s true people…I don’t even know if I went to 1st grade…….

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  4. Mark A. Lewis

    May 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    My question is, is there a difference between Hyperthymesia and an eidetic memory?

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    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      May 7, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Hyperthymesia is memory of your life events while an eidetic, or photographic, memory is the ability to remember sights, sounds, and objects–including written words, etc.–in great detail. So both are enhanced memory abilities just for different things.

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      • Mark A. Lewis

        May 7, 2012 at 8:00 am

        Okay, that’s what I thought. Because on the show “Unforgettable,” they call it Hyperthymesia, yet portray it more like eidetic memory.

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      • D.P. Lyle, MD

        May 7, 2012 at 8:08 am

        Gee, Hollywood got it wrong? I’m shocked. I don’t watch that show so I didn’t know that. Thanks.

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  5. Brenda

    May 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I remember an awful lot & I get my memory from my paternal grandmother. BUT — I’m not at Marilu Henner’s remembering absolutely everything level. Just everything I considered important and that was a lot. And I only go back to about age 2.

    I definitely remember first grade clearly too.

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  6. Pat Brown

    May 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I’ve always been amused on TV cop shows where the cops are grilling someone and demand to know where they were last Tuesday at 9:30 pm or five years ago on a Sunday. This happened a lot on Cold Case where they were dealing with nothing but old crimes. And apparently, on TV at least, if you can’t provide that information within seconds of being asked you’re suspicious I don’t know about other people, but I barelyremember where I was last Friday. The times I might remember past a day or two would be when something different happened that would stand out in my mind.

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  7. James M. Keane

    May 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I hoped to see a great deal of detail on the specifics of how this happens. I know she wrote a book on how others can follow her methods, but I have extreme doubts about this ‘self help’ book. I think there is more to it than that, and would like to have learned the biological details. All this sounds so much like a spin-off of ‘Unforgettable’.

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    • D.P. Lyle, MD

      May 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      No one knows how it happens just as nobody knows how the brains of musical and math savants work their magic. Ms. Henner has known she has this for many years and it has been a known entity for a long time so I don’t think her situation has anything to do with a TV show. The book maybe, but not her amazing ability. I haven’t read her book and know that it will not help anyone gain her ability but as I understand it she offers techniques for firming up the events of your life as you experience them so that your recall of them is greater later on. I have a pretty good recall, though it’s eroding with age, and my friends tease me about the details of my life I do remember—with great clarity at times. My answer is always that I pay attention. So many don’t and that that I think is what Ms. Henner is trying to say. Pay attention. Of course, every writer should do that.

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