People With Superior Autobiographical Memory Have Different Brains
According to a research, people who can recollect events that took place ever since the age of 10, without taking any efforts, have different brains when compared to those who could not.
A latest research by UC Irvine scientists claims that people who have excellent autobiographic memory have different brains and mental processes than those who cannot.
The first person ever to have been documented for her extraordinary memory of the past was identified as "AJ."
However, this latest study is the first scientific evidence of almost a dozen people with this uncanny ability.
All these people apparently had variations in nine structures of their brains when compared to those of control subjects. Also, they had more of the white matter linking the middle and front parts of their brain.
However, to the researchers' surprise, people with stellar autobiographical memory did not get high scores in routine laboratory memory tests even they had an excellent recollection of public or private events that occurred after age 10½, "they were remarkably better at recalling the details of their lives," said McGaugh, senior author on the new work, in the press release.
"These are not memory experts across the board. They're 180 degrees different from the usual memory champions who can memorize pi to a large degree or other long strings of numbers," lead author Aurora LePort, a doctoral candidate at UCI's Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory said in the press release. "It makes the project that much more interesting; it really shows we are homing in on a specific form of memory."
Leport further said that interviewing the participants was "baffling." She said it was stunning to see how participants could immediately respond to any date given to them.
"The day of the week just comes out of their minds; they don't even think about it. They can do this for so many dates, and they're 99 percent accurate. It never gets old," she said.
The study further revealed that most of the people with high recollection had obsessive-compulsive disorders. Researchers do not know what role is played by OCD in helping them remember events but it was also found that most of them had some or the other sort of collections such as magazines, videos, shoes, stamps or postcards.
There were about 500 people who claimed to have highly superior autobiographical memory, out of which, UCI researchers and staff have confirmed 33 until now and 37 others will be further tested.
"The next step is that we want to understand the mechanisms behind the memory," LePort said. "Is it just the brain and the way its different structures are communicating? Maybe it's genetic; maybe it's molecular."
"We're Sherlock Holmeses here. We're searching for clues in a very new area of research," McGaugh added.