Do you remember what you ate for lunch yesterday? How about you at lunch last Tuesday? What about what you had for lunch, on this day, five years ago?
If you’re like most people, the last of these questions seems extremely difficult – if not completely impossible – to answer. However, researchers have discovered that there are some people who can really answer questions like these: hyperthyroidism allowing them to remember events in their daily lives with a high degree of detail and accuracy.
You are viewing: What is Hyperthymesia?
What is Hyperthymesia?
People with hyper-energy (also known as ) transcendent autobiographical memory , or HSAM) can remember events in their lives with an extremely high level of detail. With a random date, a person with hyperthymesia can often tell you what day of the week it was, what they did that day, and whether any famous events occurred on that day. In fact, in one study, people with hyperthymesia were able to recall what they did on specific days even when they were asked about dates 10 years ago. Nima Veiseh, who suffers from hyperthyroidism, describes her experience with BBC Future : “My memory is like a library of VHS tapes, recording each day of my life from waking to sleeping.”
The ability that people with hyperthyroidism seems to have is exceptional to remember events in their lives. People with hyperthyroidism are generally unable to answer similar questions about historical events that occurred before they were born, or about memories earlier in their lives (non-volatile memory). their usually beginning around fifteen or early teen years). Additionally, researchers have found that they don’t always do better than average on tests that measure memory types other than their own (such as tests ask them to remember word pairs given in a study).
Why do some people get Hyperthymesia?
Some research suggests that certain brain regions may be different in people with hyperthyroidism, compared with those without the disease. However, as researcher James McGaugh told 60 Minutes , it’s not always clear whether these brain differences are the reason for hyperthyroidism: “We have a chicken/egg problem. Do they have larger brain regions because they exercised a lot? Or do they have fond memories… because they are bigger? ”
One study found that people with hyperthyroidism may tend to become more receptive and immersed in everyday experiences, and they tend to have strong fantasies. The study’s authors suggest that these tendencies may lead people with ED to pay more attention to events in their lives and revisit these experiences more — both of which may help. help remembering events. Psychologists have also speculated that hyper-energy may be linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and have suggested that hyperactive people may spend more time doing things. reflect on events in their lives.
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Are there any downsides?
Hyperthymesia seems like an extraordinary skill to have – after all, isn’t it great to never forget someone’s birthday or anniversaries?
However, researchers have found that there can also be downsides to hyperpigmentation. Because people’s memories are so strong, negative events in the past can affect them greatly. As Nicole Donohue, who suffers from hyperthyroidism, explains to BBC Future “You feel
What can we learn from Hyperthymesia?
While not all of us can develop the memory abilities of someone with hyperthyroidism, there are many things we can do to improve our memory, such as exercising, making sure to get enough sleep. get enough sleep and repeat the things we want to remember.
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Importantly, the existence of hyperthyroidism shows us that human memory capacity is much broader than we thought. As McGaugh told 60 Minutes the discovery of hyperthyroidism could represent a “new chapter” in memory research.
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