Inspired by 7 Kinds of Smart by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.
The mystery of whether or not eidetic memory exists was solved for me in 7th grade when Peter M. was able to recite exact words and passages from a history book that his classmates opened to random pages and requested responses like “5 consecutive words starting with ‘Washington’ from paragraph 2 on page 68.”
Since that time, it’s been shown in various studies that eidetic memory potential rarely exists beyond puberty. Since Pete and I didn’t go to the same high school, I’m not sure if he was able to continue to develop this remarkable talent…though I understand he did eventually get accepted to Princeton.
So, if you’re interested in helping your child develop this incredible capacity, many resources recommend you nurture it in ways akin to the exercise described below:
Have your child sit in a comfortable, undisturbed positions and breathe cyclically (in/out for the same number of beat with no breath “holds”) for 2 minutes. Now, ask them to rate each image you describe from 0–no image to 6–like they were actually there for each of the following “pictures”:
* Picture a blue square, green circle, and yellow triangle
* Describe your bedroom–down to the details
* Describe a pair of scissors
* Picture your mother doing a headstand
* Picture the bottom of the ocean
* Picture a photo of your favorite historical figure
* Picture how you looked at your birthday 2 years ago
Exercises like this one with random requests–particularly when performed during preschool and elementary school–can help your child develop their eidetic imagery capacity. Even if it doesn’t help true “eidetic memory”, exercises like this one can help your child better organize information for recall when necessary…in a way that’s fun for kids.