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Learning How To Develop A Photographic Memory

Updated on August 24, 2008

Not everyone has the capability of looking at something once and remembering all the details of an image or the information on a page.

While maybe not born with the ability of total recall, there are ways to develop a photographic memory. The problem essentially the confusion over the term and many individuals believe that a photographic memory is supposed to present a photographic image in their brain of the information. The reality is, most neurologists do view eidetic ability as being possible in a wide range of the population, but they do acknowledge the ability to enhance memory.

Develop A Photographic Memory

Research suggests that true photographic memory capabilities may be confused with eidetic memory, with which a person can view an image and later visualize the image in their mind, recalling minute details. Whether this phenomenon is actually possible is open for debate but people have been able to develop a photographic memory to the point they can remember most details of everything they see.

There have been numerous tricks developed to help people improve their memory skills, helping to develop a photographic memory, which can be useful if school, in business or just in remembering the birthdays of everyone in the family, including distant relatives that are rarely seen.

Study Habits Different For Different People

When kids are in school they are taught initially by repetition and then by association. By looking at words or numbers they are taught ways to think of what they see in a different form that they can easily recall. To develop a photographic memory of specific words they may be taught to put them into a story that they can easily remember and by using this method are able to put virtually any phrase or sentence into their memory in a way they can easily recall.

Numbers are one of the more troubling for many people to remember and if they can develop a photographic memory through certain ways of learning, they do not necessarily have a picture of the numbers in their find, rather they have a refined way of searching the storage areas in their brain to relate to those numbers.

Study after study has shown that eidetic memory, often called photographic memory is still a questionable concept. However, expanding a person's ability to remember important information is possible and by using similar techniques have been able to develop a photographic memory. Study habits will vary among individuals and once they learn the best method that works for them the more they can learn and maintain in their memory.

How To Have A Photographic Memory: You Don't Have To Be Born With It

Most people think you have to be born with a photographic memory but that just isn't so. You can have a photographic memory, it just takes patience and lots of practice. When seeking out how to have a photographic memory, you just need a little instruction. This can come from books, from audio or video tapes, from DVDs or from personal instruction from someone who knows to how to teach how to have a photographic memory.

See, your brain can store lots and lots of information. It's like a computer. A computer stores files and allows you retrieve those files whenever you need them. That's why you need to store things properly in your brain. Can you imagine trying to retrieve information that's all bundled together with no order?

When learning how to have a photographic memory, you learn to file information away in an orderly fashion so that it's instantly retrievable whenever you need it.


When learning how to have a photographic memory, one of the first things you'll learn is how to associate things. For instance, when you first meet someone it's most difficult to try and remember that person's name. However, if you learn how to associate that name with something familiar, you'll remember it every time.

For example, if you meet someone named Jonah and they are a large person, you can always think of their name as a reference to Jonah and the whale, a story from the bible. While that may be cruel, it's a great way to remember and that's what association is all about.


Learning how to have a photographic memory is most helpful if you learn to think in pictures. When learning a phone number, for example, try to think of objects in place of the numbers. The numbers five five one, for instance, can be thought of as two gloves holding a bat. The gloves represent five because of the five fingers and the bat is the one because of its shape.

Once you know how to have a photographic memory by thinking in pictures, remembering things will be a whole lot easier.

These are just a couple of examples of how to have a photographic memory. For more tips and tricks, purchase an audio or video series by people in the know. The more your practice, the better you'll get and your mind will become a steel trap in no time at all.

Researchers Contend Photographic Memory Is A Myth

There is plenty of debate about whether the concept of a photographic memory even exists and many so-called experts often confuse someone’s claim of having one with eidetic memory. Perhaps because of the misnomer of photographic memory, some researchers believe that people who have the ability to remember small details are claiming to have total recall that lasts more than two or three minutes.

The test for eidetic memory was devised to test the concept of a photographic memory, in that a person is given 30 seconds to scan an image. The image is then removed and the person attempts to recreate the image in their mind and relate what they see. Very few individuals have been able to repeat the image in clear detail and after a few minutes could only offer a rough outline. Based on these types of test, these researchers are claiming that photographic memory is a myth.

Despite the conclusions drawn by these experts, there are numerous people who have demonstrated that photographic memory is very real and very possible. The basic theory is that people have enhanced memory capabilities enabling them to remember things longer that most, instead of actually taking a picture with their brain.

Memory Traits Can Be Expanded

The idea of someone having a photographic memory is more dominant in children who can often recall something they have seen in vivid detail. Unfortunately, as they grow older outside influences disrupt the memory process replacing the older images, or memories, with new thoughts or visions. It is believed that adults have so many interruptions in their daily lives to collect effectively information in their “mind’s eye” to be able to store enough detail in their memory.

There are numerous resources that can help individuals capitalize on their memory abilities and train themselves to have a virtual photographic memory. Memory course have been around for several years to help people with recall of important information such as names and dates, and through this training develop what is sometimes termed as a photographic memory.

Those who claim to have an eidetic memory, the ability to recall an image in detail after seeing it only once, are extremely rare while those with what they believe to be a photographic memory can recall detailed information as though they were actually looking at the information embedded in their brain. It is presumed their expanded memory capabilities allow them to form an image of the information they are trying to recall.

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