In clinical terms, eidetic memory is the word for photographic memory. It is characterized by an extraordinary ability to recall things with unbelievable precision and accuracy. People with eidetic memory look at an image for a short time and can then remember it to such detail as though it is still in front of them. It is as if their brain took a photograph of the image which they can see whenever they want. Although, it is not uncommon for people to have extraordinary memory than others, the existence of real photographic memory is still very much debated.
Is Eidetic Memory for Real
The concept of eidetic or photographic memory has various aspects to it. Your ability to recall things is based on various factors, the time for which you observe the image or event, your consciousness or attention, your relation with the image or event, etc. For example, you might have heard that chess players can recall the thirty two pieces on the board accurately with their precise position. However, this ability can be mostly attributed to their knowledge of the game than anything else. If you place the pieces randomly, their ability will reduce to that of any other person. Legendary musician Mozart was also considered as one with eidetic memory, due to his impeccable ability to recall music pieces.
A real eidetiker is one who can recall things from diverse fields and that too for a longer duration of time. In that case, Kim Peek who could remember 98% of the content that he read from 12,000 books can be called true eidetiker. Most people with a so-called photographic memory forget the details in a short time. The image soon fades away from their brain. However, a real eidetiker can recall the image with same precision and accuracy after a long time. The question is, do such people really exist? Most self-proclaimed eidetikers have greater attention to detail than average people. This is probably the reason why they can recall things with such accuracy. Thus, in real sense, eidetic or photographic memory is sharp observation combined with smart memorization tricks.
Kids have a greater probability of having photographic memory than adults. In a memory test, kids are exposed to a certain picture for 30 minutes. When asked to describe the picture, one out of 12 kids will describe it with astounding accuracy. In adults, this ratio comes down to 1:1000. The reason why kids have a memory closer to eidetic memory is that, they have a clutter-free mind, which enables them to concentrate in a better way.
Photographic Memory Training
Although, there is no way of knowing if photographic memory indeed exists in real world, you can sure try to improve your memory by stimulating your brain cells. One of the simplest technique to stimulate brain cells is by solving crossword puzzles. This way you can train your brain to retrieve information on demand. Playing memory games is another way to develop eidetic memory. Photographic memory is essentially a skill to organize things in such a manner so that they can be retrieved easily. Besides, people working with mnemonics are often better at recalling things than others. So, that could be one of the techniques of memory improvement.
Human memory range extends from eidetic memory to a state of complete memory loss. As you age, you move from one end of the spectrum towards the other. Most people have memory between these two extremes. However, with training and effort you can certainly move to the eidetic end of the memory spectrum.