Total recall – the people who never forget

How can we be certain our memories are real? Arnie starred in the ultimate paranoia movie, Total Recall (1990)

Do you have a good memory? OK, what were you doing on the 26th of September, 2005? Actually, what were you doing this time last week? As you maybe saw on last night’s C4 documentary about Aurelien Hayman (or yesterday’s BBC Breakfast interview with him) there are people with a medical condition called hyperthymesia who can recall every day of their life in amazing detail.

As they can’t suppress or forget anything, people with this condition seem to feel intensely that they’re living ‘in the moment’, with some saying it has made them more compassionate. I was just reading about the actress Marilu Henner, who compares it to time travel. She has a teenage son, and if she wants to imagine what he’s going through she just transports herself back to when she was exactly his age. I suppose being reminded of our teenaged selves does have its uses…

We can all improve our memories by coming up with funny and exaggerated images to represent what we’re trying to remember. Everyone from Ancient Romans to stage memory masters use this technique – it really works! More about this method here.

Unforgettable is a documentary about Brad Williams, a hyperthymesia sufferer dubbed ‘The Human Google’. Check out the amazing trailer over the turn…

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