Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Total Recall

I was at a birthday party a few weeks ago. The party was for a toddler and was held at a theme park. One of the attractions was a water ride in which kids rode around a water way on a small canoe. The ride was manned by a teenage girl, and what was interesting about her was her incredible memory. Kids would get onto the boats on one side of the ride, and she would talk to them and ask their names. When the boats came back, she would greet each and every one of them using their names. Remember, there were 4-5 boats in the loop. What was even more interesting was that I met her in the concession stand a half hour later, and remarked about her incredible memory. She thanked me, and went on to correctly name my daughter as well as the other kids who rode with her!!

Some people are blessed with incredible photographic memory (I think it is called Eidetic memory). I started wondering how that girl could put this talent of hers to use. Apart from excelling in her studies, being able to recall the content of any page of a text book, remembering shopping lists, remembering names, I could not think of many other uses.

Having the ability to memorize things in great detail is of not much use if the information is not used. It is similar to a database; you can store a lot of information. But, if the information is fragmented and not properly indexed, it is pretty much useless. The same can happen with people who have great memory.

One of the gifts that a human is born with is memory, especially variable storage memory. Our ability to easily forget memories that we do not cherish is one of the boons. If one has eidetic memory and holds everything down, it may be hard to forget things too. That would make their life miserable.

All in all, good memory is always beneficial since it helps one excel in studies, socially as well as professionally.