Forum Message

Topic: Photographic Memory
Posted by: Rob
Date/Time: 17/06/2003 18:00:21

John and Carmen,

Thank you, and thank you again for an inspirational, informative and provocative book.

A question or three.

Modelling. In modelling a subject, with whom there is no interaction with another subject verbal or non-verbal, how do you propose to obtain the strategies employed in order to acquire a model of their Photographic Memory?

Let me be more specific. About 5 years ago I modelled this person using the 'NLP Application models of modelling, through a) second position/shadowing modelling (imitation) and b)use of the meta-model and TOTE questioning to obtain the 4tuple strategy.

While a number of patterns emerged that indeed were very interesting and cognisant of people who had ‘a good memory for the written word’ I did not get a sense or overall impression or to be specific an internalised model of his strategy.

Now there are 2 parts to this 1) the induction of words to memory 2) the recall of those such words. The recall I measured over 3 phases – within 5 minutes of reading within 1 week and within 1 month. This was to test the effectiveness of his strategy.

Also the text to be read had to be a) something he had a specific interest in b) something he did not have a specific interest in c) something he would have little or no conceptual knowledge of (this being my brothers Doctorate in Physics and Geo -Chemistry) I chose this because I wanted to know how much of his photographic memory, if any, was based upon what he was interested in compared to what he did not know about, ie could he remember arbitrary symbols that had no meaning In comparison to words/phrases that he could build images, feelings and audition.

Within 5 minutes of reading a 200 word document on a subject of interest his retention was 98% accurate, within 1 week it was 80% and within 1 month 72%.

The other two documents were 1) not interested, 5 mintues 94%, 1 week 75% 1 month 60%

2) No concept of, 5 minutes 85%, 1 week 72% 1 month 56%

The main parts that I gleaned from this model were,
1) Before reading the documents he would scan the text approximately 4-6 times, This I worked out would help him to ‘build an image/movie of the document, with each phase filling in the gaps, so that by the end he would see hear and feel the whole movie as well as visually see the text, if he could not see the text (in his minds eye) he could not see the movie. The scanning would take place over a 5-8 second interval (dependent on document length)

2) During the scanning phase his eyelids widened significantly when he reached parts of the text that gave him the GIST of the document and then would repeat and Widen again when he went for the next scan to across the document over the next area that he had not committed to memory. This I assumed allowed more light to enter into the eyes thus brightening the image and changing the submodailites
3) He would selectively select text that would ‘make up what the ‘story’ was about ie it had a significant component to the meaning of the whole document. This would then be ‘highlighted’ visually and associated where it could to other sensory modalities.
4) During recall his eyes would centre and defocus on an indiscriminate point in order to recall the document.

So really my question arises what is the best way to model somebody who has this skill and has I might say (Very minimal non-verbal cues) While I agree that calibration skills are essential, and I know that mine are pretty good, what else could you suggest that might help in modeling someone with this type of skill.

The upshot of the project was that that I do not think my modelling was effective enough in replicating his skills. Though in practice of this my ability to retain more information had increased by apprximatley 15-20%, I did not practice what I had learnt enough.

I have a paper written on the subject that highlights the findings in more detail, and though a lot of what I gleaned is very useful in increasing memory retention of textual material, I do not believe that I have found the difference that makes the difference.

Coming by models who have similar skills is neither easy, and having been approached by others that claim to have Photographic memories, it soon becomes clear that they have used some of these ‘memory enhancing programs or techniques that quite frankly reduce the point of modeling someone with a natural and exquisite skill and which makes the whole subject of efficacy and efficiency of Photographic Memory mute.

So another question is, do you know, or have you met people with a photographic memory? If so what results have you had or perhaps is it possible to be put in touch with them. I reside in the UK.

The research that I have done on it indicates it is not in the same league as Photoreading nor employs the same strategy of recall, as the recall in this is very tight, specific and needs to be accurate, especially if the user is an actor.

I would appreciate your help very much in this matter.

All the best and I look forward for ‘Red Tail Math’


P.S. Please note this document is neither accurate nor fully descriptive of the actual events that took place, so there will be a multitude of errors that the reader if so willing shall find. And that the desciptive use of the strategies is only a part and not the whole but is only representative of a small portion of what I had noticed, but yet seemed significant.

PPS You may or may not remember, we met at PPD’s event in London of you doing your Patterning weekend for the first time in the UK about 4-5 years ago. I then asked you a question on how I model this skill, and quite frankly forgot your answer as my mind was errr somewhere else deep inside.

PPPS Modelling while not wanting to make distinctions further, I sometimes get the sense that there are two aspects of Modelling 1) Pure Modelling 2) Applications Modelling. And that what has been proposed in WITW is Pure Modelling – and what is generally proposed by the NLP communities is Application Modelling yet there will be overlaps between the two as distinct patterns are to be found by the trained observer in either endeavour, and I would put Photographic Memory in Applications Modelling.

Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
Photographic Memory17/06/2003 18:00:21Rob
     Re:Photographic Memory17/06/2003 21:35:43Golf Swing Modeler
          Re:Re:Photographic Memory18/06/2003 12:31:12Rob
               Re:Re:Re:Photographic Memory18/06/2003 14:33:31Golf Swing Modeler
                    Re:Re:Re:Re:Photographic Memory19/06/2003 11:50:23Robert
     Re:Photographic Memory19/06/2003 00:48:58Robin
     Re:Photographic Memory19/06/2003 20:19:54Vladimir
          Re:Re:Photographic Memory23/06/2003 17:37:05Robert

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