20th May 2024

The Woman who Can’t Forget (Year 1 Wed.)

ENGLISH FOR PSYCHOLOGY Forums Neuropsychology The Woman who Can’t Forget (Year 1 Wed.)

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    • #6006
      admin
      Keymaster

      Jill Price was the first person diagnosed with highly superior autobiographical memory. What is life like with this rare condition? Is it a blessing or a curse, or perhaps a little of each?

    • #6008
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      A little of each, as even she says that. Living with the hyperthymestic syndrome makes her feel like a prisoner to her memory and a Russian doll. She travels to her mind and is able to recall details of her previous days, months, years, events and so on. It is both a blessing and a curse because she goes back to those happy and sad moments of her life. She experiences them every time they appear in her mind. She says that her memories are very vivid and emotional.

      • #6011
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I agree. When you first think of remembering every moment of your life – it sounds great. But when you realize it also means that you can’t forget all these embarrassing, sad, emotional moments – it doesn’t sound like blessing at all.

        • #6014
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          Exactly.. but Jill is grateful for the memory she has and she found a way to live with it quite normally.

    • #6009
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      A little of each, for sure. It must be wonderful to remember every happy moment in your life – but, unfortunately, there are also bad moments, and you remember every detail of them. It is great not to forget your first date with someone, but not to forget your first argument with this person? Not forgetting any argument at all? That’s worse. So, as Jill Price said, her memory “has been both a blessing and a curse”.

      • #6020
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        My mood can be easily affected by my own weak memories. I believe if I was in Jill’s position it would be even more overwhelming and unpleasant.

      • #6025
        admin
        Keymaster

        Was Jill’s hyperthymesia useful at school?

        • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
        • #6035
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          No, actually it was the opposite – she couldn’t focus and she had big problem with Maths, she couldn’t remember all those formulas.

          • #6039
            admin
            Keymaster

            Isn’t it surprising that total recall didn’t help her at school? She was an average student.

        • #6036
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          It seems like it could be helpful. But she mentioned that had trouble memorizing history, arithmetic, foreign language and science facts. She had to be interested in order to remember it.

          • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
          • #6043
            admin
            Keymaster

            I’ve always thought that people with super memory have it easier at school, and she proved that I was wrong.

    • #6010
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I think it’s a little of each, because she can recall in her memory many happy memories but she also remembers very vivid her sad memories. In my opinion it’s very interesting that if someone gives her any date from the year she can almost instantly tell what happened that day, what she did and so on. But it’s also sad that she remembers pretty well devastating moments of her life and can’t repress them like many people do.

      • #6044
        admin
        Keymaster

        Magda, do you remember what “chaining” is?

        • #6100
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          Yes, she said that she is constantly chaining, because if she thinks about one thing, it will lead her straight to another and she can’t actually be free of all these memories.

          • #6109
            admin
            Keymaster

            What happens if she thinks about a given 4 July?

    • #6012
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      In my opinion life with such a perfect autobiographical memory would be definitely a curse. Yes, she is able to go back to happy moments but at the same time she is hunted by those painful memories. And it is known that sad emotions affect us more than joyful ones. Sometitmes it’s better to forget some moments and let the time heal the wounds. Besides, she mentioned that she has troubles with learning and that she is really bad in at memorising facts that aren’t connected to her life which was very problematic especially during her education. Personally I think that highly superior autobiographical memory isn’t that useful that I would want to “sacrifice” the ability to remember other things.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
      • #6067
        admin
        Keymaster

        What type of memory do you consider the most useful?

    • #6013
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      While I can see why some people would think of this condition as a blessing, for me it’s more of a curse. Living with Jill’s condition seems very difficult especially with how she can’t control what and when will she recall something. Considering, how while remembering certine certain events, she feels the same way she felt at that time, it becomes even more saddening because sometimes she basically has to re-live difficult moments from her life. She said that it’s helpful at times since she can recall good events too but despite that I still dont’t see it as a blessing.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
      • #6050
        admin
        Keymaster

        Would you like to have a better access to your memories?

        • #6063
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          I would like to have a better access to it. I actually have a pretty poor memory so being able to recall some things better than I normally do, would be nice. Not to the same extent as Jill’s memory of course, but it would be helpful to remember certain events better.

          • #6072
            admin
            Keymaster

            What do you find the most difficult to remember? What type of memory would you improve?

            • #6089
              Anonymous
              Inactive

              I would like to improve both my short term and long term memory. I tend to forget tasks shortly after receiving them so I have to write everything down in order to do it later. When it comes to long term memory I technically remember what happend during certain events but I have troubles with details. I’m also not the best at memorizing things like phone numbers or names

              • #6099
                admin
                Keymaster

                What about semantic memory? I’m sure that it has to be good, otherwise you would’ve had problems at school and you probably wouldn’t have got admitted to APS in the first place 🙂

                • #6101
                  Anonymous
                  Inactive

                  My semantic memory is actually pretty good compared to other types of memory. I don’t usually have problems memorizing formulas, definitions and other school related things.

                  • #6106
                    admin
                    Keymaster

                    I thought so. There are people who can’t recognise people’s faces. Do you know perhaps what this condition is called? Oliver Sacks had it, among others.

                    • #6113
                      Anonymous
                      Inactive

                      I’m sorry, I don’t think I know the name of this condition.

    • #6017
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Jill has an unusual access to her memory that sometimes could be very helpful and fun. I wish I could sometimes remember some things from my life like her. On the other hand all of her memories whether bad or good, joyful or devastating randomly come up during her everyday life. I seems very overwhelming. That’s why I think her condition might be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

      • #6032
        admin
        Keymaster

        I’m quite sure that not all her memories are either good or bad. Sometimes (quite often) our days are uneventful, so memories from that day are not intense.

    • #6018
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      As for me, it was a little of both a blessing and a curse. She could remember every single moment of her life in details, like no one could. She could tell her relatives everything about events in their lives, if they didn’t remember. On the other hand, her memories were really distractive in everyday life. She wasn’t able to control them, they occurred automatically. Moreover, she had to feel every emotion that she had felt then one more time, and it involved both pleasant feelings and painful. In addition, she didn’t really know what is the root of her ability though she really wanted to. It has been a mystery both for her and researchers yet.

      • #6042
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        She could remember lots of facts about her friends and family and that’s great but they consider her a little bit like a attraction an entartainment. I think that was quite annoying for her to be asked all the time about dates and what happened that day. In my opinion it could make her feel like a weirdo (but with superpowers.)

        • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
        • #6053
          admin
          Keymaster

          Actually, she said that she didn’t/doesn’t mind being asked all these questions. At least she can focus on someone else’s life.

          • #6070
            Anonymous
            Inactive

            Yes, she didn’t mind it. And she also was joking about her ability in the way of reminding people what they did in the past. She generally had a problem with explaining her ability to relatives, but dating events that way helped her to show her family and friends how it worked.

            • #6102
              admin
              Keymaster

              Good point. At least her family and friends could have a sample of her abilities. I’ve used “could” a not “can” because now that her condition has been examined and diagnosed, her closed ones understand it much better.

    • #6019
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I think it is a little of each and even Jill Price said that. It is blessing because she can easily recall every happy memory from her childhood and every other they since she turned eleven.Her memories are so vivid that she can even tell what day it was and that must be Wonderfull feeling. On the other hand it must be a curse because she can’t choose what days she wants remember, she just remember everything all those embarrassing moments, arguments, fights. People usually forget unpleasant situations, they move on, their memories fades and they can remember them during similar situation but when you have superior memory, you just remember even if you want to forget and it happens unconsciously.

      • #6021
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        Exactly, but it’s possible to live with it, just like Jill. However, it may not be easy at first. Some people would probably be overhelmed and concerned by all these memories.

    • #6022
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Jill all the time was telling that it is not blessing. Firstly she had quite hard time focusing on anything else than her memories because they were flashing in her mind unstoppable. But secondly she could trigger her favourite memories and experience them again whith all good feelings and warmth so that was pretty amazing. Although she was constantly float in insignificant memories the ability to not forget the greatest moments is quite a blessing

      • #6024
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        Not only in insignificant memories but also in painful ones and it must be really painful to constantly re-live same hurtful situations. In that way her memory was a curse.

        • #6028
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          Yeah. I didn’t really consider that. I agree with you. For her it wasn’t always a blessing because constantly experience bad emotions that happened years ago and didn’t even matter right now must be horrible. The worst part was that she couldn’t turned her off like us when we do something that keep us from thinking about past
          But we can’t forget about good things that happened in live thar can’t be forget

          • #6031
            Anonymous
            Inactive

            Exactly. We usually tend to forget bad experiences and considering her case it is impossible.

    • #6023
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      At first, I considered Jill’s condition as a huge blessing and thought to myself that it must be extremely helpful in her everyday life. Later, however, when her case was explained with more detail, I understood how exhausting and daunting it must be. While I can see how remembering everything can be somewhat interesting, Jill could not forget even the most embarrassing and upsetting things that have happened to her. I personally think that this condition is exceedingly rare and interesting, I believe living with it must be a challenge and can slowly wreck a human being.

      • #6068
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I somewhat agree with you, but at the same time it was all very automatic to her and it was in her all her life, she even had memories from when she was 18 months old. So I don’t think she saw it as a challenge.

        • #6077
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          Possibly after some time she got used to being constantly reminded about things from her life and some situations could be small obstacles rather than challenges preventing her from living her life.

    • #6027
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I think that her memory is both a blessing and a curse. It must be amazing to be able to “revisit” favourite memories, but as Jill Prince wrote her memory can cause a bit of pain, because she can remember also all the painful situations. She also wrote that all the memories are sensuallly vivid and very emotional, so experiencing the same events all over again with the same emotions must be overwhelming. Moreover, she wrote that memories come back to her all the time so I belive that it must be very hard to focus on daily problems when in your head youre experiencing events from your past.

      • #6034
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        And it can be even a smell which can take her back to the past. Unbelievable. Imagine being for example 40 years old and back to the first memory from being 18 months old.

        • #6051
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          I know, right? And I can’t even remember what I had for dinner three days ago! 🙂 I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have memory like hers

        • #6080
          admin
          Keymaster

          Smells are very strong triggers of memories. I’m sure that there are some smells that can bring forth some of your emotions. Am I right?

          • #6095
            Anonymous
            Inactive

            Probably yes, but for now I can’t recall any memories with smell. For example, I can remember that I liked a perfume I smelt while being in a duty-free shop at the airport last year but I don’t feel the smell of it now.

            • #6104
              admin
              Keymaster

              How about a smell of a freshly baked bread or cake? I associate some smells and tastes with my childhood. Some of them can yank me back to a particular time/day in my life.
              I also think that my autobiographical memory is above average.

              • #6107
                Anonymous
                Inactive

                I don’t smell it so strongly, I would say I rather make an imagination of it. But when you told about your autobiographical memory, I must say that I am also from among these people who remember details and a vivid images of an event. memory or something.

                • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
                • #6111
                  admin
                  Keymaster

                  It has an equal share of advantages and disadvantages 🙂
                  Sometimes I’d like to be able to forget.

    • #6029
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      It is most certainly both a blessing and a curse, she could remember all her good memories, great experiences vividly but with that said, she also could remember all of the bad experiences and memories and every time she remembered them it felt emotional and she was reliving them. I think it’s tough, especially if someone is sensitive emotionally, but I also think the great memory for everything could be so useful and easy. For example, I have a memory of a gold fish, and I think I’d rather have great detailed memory like her rather than the one I have now. Even if it comes with remembering the details of bad memories.

    • #6033
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      In my opinion it’s mostly a curse because the ability to forget some things is actually really important for mental health. For example with time we’re able to forgive someone for what they said or did to us but Jill Price had those memories associated with emotions she felt back then. Some says that time heals all wounds but in her case she was constantly reminded of painful moments which made it hard to let go. It’s a little bit of a blessing though because she could also recall happy moments like she could experience them once again.

    • #6037
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I think it’s a little of each. It would be wonderful to remember all beautiful and joyful events from our lives. People without Jill’s ability can only feel something similar while, for example, reviewing family albums, but it’s still not the same as her reliving the memories, „travelling”, as she called it. That being said, I can’t imagine how terrible „travelling” to the bad memories must be, especially when they’re connected with strong negative emotions. In my life I had an experience than showed me how strongly our emotions are connected with our memory, so I can imagine how difficult it must be for Jill to feel this every day.

      • #6041
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I totally agree with you, but.. if I may ask, can you write something more about your experience that you mentioned? I’m curious.

        • #6062
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          Sure. One time my friend started playing a song that I thought I have never heard before. I immediately started crying and just coulnd’t control myself. I didn’t know why – the song was sad, but not that sad. When I came back home I played the song for my mom and she started crying. She told me that she used to listen to that song when I was younger, during a really difficult time for my family – the time I have no recolllection of. This situation is, of course, different than Jill’s, but I could feel emotions that strong even without remembering the exact situation from the past that caused them, so it must be really difficult for Jill to feel AND remember.

    • #6038
      admin
      Keymaster

      Have you ever thought why with such superior memory she didn’t go far in her professional life?

      • #6049
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I think it’s because her memories must be very distracting, so she can’t really focus on the “important” things. In the text she said memories are “popping in her head all the time”, as if she had a screen viewing them in her head, so I think it’s probably hard to focus on anything else.

        • #6056
          admin
          Keymaster

          Can you think of a job which requires at least an above average memory?

          • #6088
            Anonymous
            Inactive

            I think jobs requiring knowledge of many languages, like interpreters working in international parliaments. I also think you need an exceptional memory to become a doctor of any kind of or a scientist -you have to remember a lot of difficult names, cases etc. As for Jill’s case I think someone with her memory would do great as some kind of archivist or maybe journalist – it would be easy for them to connect present events with incidents those from the past.

            • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
            • #6093
              admin
              Keymaster

              I agree with what you said. In one of my posts below I asked all of you a question why she isn’t more successful in her professional life (she is an administrator at a religious school, or at least she was at some point in her life). The reason is of course her superior autobiographical memory. She remembers most of her life in vivid detail, but it doesn’t affect her semantic memory. And even if it did, she would probably have problems understaning concepts or theories – in this respect, her memory was just average and it make her any more intelligent.

      • #6060
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        Well, she did mention that her memory was purely about events or things she experienced and she performed badly on tests that were meant to test the memory of long digits, history facts or anything that school really makes us remember. But it also could be the fact that she had big trouble focusing because her memories would just randomly pop in her head like a TV playing in the background involuntarily. I think it makes focusing on work really hard especially when you have problems remembering stuff necessary for your education as well.

      • #6064
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        Her memories could have been a distraction for her and prevent her from doing many things, such as go further in professional life. It could have an impact on how Jill is forming any relationships as she would remember about certain things from her past.

      • #6065
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        Jill’s memory contains episodes mostly form her life. She has trouble with anyting that doesn’t interest her. The fact that her memories randomly appear in her head seems very distracting and overwhelming. It’s probably hard to focus on anything else when your mind is roaming through your memories.

        • #6081
          admin
          Keymaster

          Yes, but there’s more to it.

      • #6098
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I think it’s because while her memory makes it possible to remember events from her life in great detail, it’s also very distracting. She mentioned in the text that her condition, despite what people might think, didn’t help her in any way in school and actually made it more difficult. She has great memory for things that happened to her specifically, but the amount of things she remembers might have made it more difficult to focus on school related informations like mathematical formulas for example.

    • #6045
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Maybe because she wasn’t able to forget all unpleasant situations that were related to her friends. She perfectly remembered all the fights and arguments and that might have affected her relationships in a bad way.

    • #6054
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Her superior memory was only about her live life. She didn’t have abilities to remember everything like maths problems or historical issues from XIX the 19th century. Her brain didn’t help her in school or work. Moreover it could be a distraction from focusing on a task

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
      • #6061
        admin
        Keymaster

        Good point. Anything else?

        • #6069
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          I think that the most unconvincing for her was that distraction. I can’t imagine the difficulty of trying to learn something when your whole life pops consistently in your mind. The problems that you try to remember go astray inside your brain

          • #6105
            admin
            Keymaster

            For the explanation, see post #6093

    • #6055
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      As she mentioned everyone thought that she did great at school but in fact she had problems with learning, her superior memory is autobiographical, she’s not like S or VP’s cases. She can remember things that happened to her or if she is really interested in it.What is more she sees time different than the others. She couldn’t go far in her professional life because it would be too hard for her.

      • #6059
        admin
        Keymaster

        Victoria, can you remind us who VP is and how his condition is different from hers

        • #6079
          Anonymous
          Inactive

          He was another person with superior memory, although his wasn’t about facts from his life. He was more like a genius, he could remember everything without taking notes and learning it, when he was only five he already knew the map of all the streets in Riga, when he was tested with odd story about ghosts, he recalled it almost perfectly six weeks letter and also a year later, after reading it only twice. We did this story last semester on in psychology classes and I remembered only a few clue words at first. I think his condition might be such a blessing in life whereas Jill’s case might be overloading overwhelming.

          • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
    • #6058
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      I’ve never experienced any kind of superior autobiographical memory, so for me it’s hard to tell. Basing on what Jill Price wrote, I believe it’s `both blessing and curse. It may strongly depends on experience, which the person with this kind of memory have.
      This reminds me of Billy Pilgrim, character from the book I’ve read, called “Slaughterhouse Five”, written by Kurt Vonnegut. Billy was “lost in time”, and although he could travel into any memory he had, he was constantly driven back to hes war memories. For him it was definitely a curse.

    • #6071
      admin
      Keymaster

      In her book, Jill Price mentioned the method of loci. Who is this method attributed to and what does it involve?

      • #6073
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        The method is attributed to the Greek poet Simonides and it is described as “walking along the path” and storing your memories there. When you want to recall something, you “walk” along the path of your mentally stored memories and they are more easily retrieved.

      • #6075
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        It is atribbuted to Greek poet Simonedes of Kos inn 447 B.C. It relies on attaching things you want to remember to the mental representation of a path and it is supposed to help you recall these things the next time you “walk” this path.

        • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
      • #6078
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        It’s the method for memorizing and is attributed to the Greek poet. The method of loci is about a mental walk by along/down a familiar path and attaching facts we need to remember to the places along this path. It is said that we can easily recall these facts and retrieve them while walking this path in our minds.

        • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
        • #6086
          admin
          Keymaster

          Yes, you are all right. I’m wondering whether you’ve ever used this method or any other methods of memorising?

          • #6090
            Anonymous
            Inactive

            During the last session, we had a course of Methods of Studying and there, I gave it a try but it isn’t really my method of memorizing. I just don’t feel it.

          • #6108
            Anonymous
            Inactive

            I am familiar with the method and have used it many times. Although it’s not the method I use frequently, it is quite helpful for me to “visualize” what I am studying or memorizing.

      • #6084
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        It’s a memorizing technique from ancient times in which you’re supposed to imagine yourself walking a mental path, road and attribute things you want to remember to what you see, so once you go back that mental path you can remember the associations you made in your head.

        • #6087
          admin
          Keymaster

          It must be helpful but I’ve never used it, though. Have you?

          • #6092
            Anonymous
            Inactive

            I tried it but it didn’t work for me, but my memory is very bad in general so when I have to study there are only certain things that work for example: information has to be in color but has to be segregated and written down by hand, even if there’s lots of material. But I think for people with average memory or good memory it could work great.

            • #6096
              admin
              Keymaster

              I see. I’m afraid I would get lost along this path somehow 🙂
              I’ve never thought of you as a person with a bad memory. I think that most of us would like to memorise things quicker. but it’s a process that requires regular rehearsal. Memory is like a muscle, it has to be exercised.

              • #6103
                Anonymous
                Inactive

                I agree but from my life experience I have realized that for me to get the same average results takes more of those memory exercises than for others, which is okay because we are all different, but it is lots of work. That’s why I wouldn’t mind having Jill’s memory even if it was just for dates and life events.

      • #6094
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        It’s a method attributed to Greek poet Simonedes that is supposed to help people memorize things by imagining yourself walking a “mental path” to which you connect things you want to remember. It’s meant to make it easier to retrieve information.

        • #6097
          admin
          Keymaster

          Right. For those of you, you don’t know how to pronounce “loci”, here is an IPA transcription: /ˈləʊsʌɪ/

    • #6074
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Her memory was superior but not in every field. Besides she couldn’t fully control her brain in that aspect. Also she was already burdened with episodes of her own life she couldn’t forget so if she would expose herself to more situations she would remember to success in career or something it could be miserable.

    • #6112
      admin
      Keymaster

      If you could improve one type of memory, what type would this be?

      • #6120
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I would like to improve my semantic memory as well. I’m bad at remembering general facts and just common knowledge. And I think this might be because when something I’m not interested in is required to be known or learnt, it works in the opposite way and I’m not able to learn and remember it. But I would like to have this memory improved because it’s pretty useful.

        • #6121
          admin
          Keymaster

          Welcome to the club, Alexndra 🙂

      • #6122
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I think I would like to improve my semantic memory. As you said, it is really useful at school – and even though my memory isn’t THAT bad, I’d really like to improve it.

      • #6123
        Anonymous
        Inactive

        I agree with girls. I my semantic memory is not the best, I have to admit that school learning was always a little hard to me.

    • #6114
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      If I could improve one type of memory it would be semantic memory, for sure. I have pretty good memory for facts that happened to me, I have also good memory for weird, sometimes useless dates but I often have a huge problem to recall some names or historical dates, that’s why I hated geography and history at school, even if I found them pretty interesting, because I kept mixing different names and appearances?? and I knew I was learning about something but I just couldn’t recall it exactly. So if I had a chance to improve my semantic memory, I’d do that immediately.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
      • #6118
        admin
        Keymaster

        I understand. It’s the type of memory very useful at school. I would improve mine as well.

    • #6116
      admin
      Keymaster

      Dear All,
      I’m waiting for your replies to the question above.
      Thank you for the discussion. For the next lesson, I’d like you to study the following:

      Amnesia

      A Biography of a Man with no Life

      Amnesia — podcast

      Memory Loss — cloze

      Memory Loss — verbs

      Memory Loss — nouns

      The happy few who want to learn more about Jill Price’s condition, may watch a short video that sheds some more light on hyperthymesia.

      Have a good day 🙂

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by admin.
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