Photographic Memory in a 3 year old? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is my little helper. When I can't find something in the house, I just ask him "Eli, where's my hairbrush?" and he tells me where exactly it is. Even things that have absolutely no connection to him, he remembers in detail where they're kept, even when I've long since forgotten.
Today he was telling me about the trip we took to the bank over a month ago. Not so memorable, at least in my mind, but he was telling me all about what happened in the bank, who we spoke to, what we did, and the colors of the chairs.
I can NEVER pull a fast one on him or get away with anything- he remembers when I say I'll do something and don't carry through, even when I've long since forgotten about it.
He remembers details about colors of clothing and what we ate for supper long ago and details about which way someone turned when they left our house.

How do I know if this is really a photographic memory, and if so, is there anything I should do to enhance it, or simply let him live life as normally as possible?
(He's nearly 3, by the way.)
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#2 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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Ds (who just turned 3) is the same way. He tells detailed stories about things that happend before his first birthday even! He talks abotu colors, what people said, where someone was standing (next to the ___ etc.), what shirt he or I was wearing, what food was there, what we did before/after...
And he can find random things too, he is very useful for that

I dunno if its a memory thing or just a matter of being VERY observant. He seems to notice everything around him, always has even as a tiny baby.
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#3 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mother got shocked the first time I asked him "Where's the yellow knife?" Mom was aghast- "You let him play with knives???" No way, he never touches them, he just notices where it is even though its not his. He'll direct me to where my lost things are. I get so shocked.

We just started playing memory games with him, to test just how far this phenomenal memory stretches.
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#4 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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My oldest is this way. She has been since she was little. I wish I had even a little bit of her memory!

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#5 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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It is cool to see how kids grow and develop. My take on the memory thing is that while it is neat, it is something that is explainable in lots of ways other than a photographic memory. Different details are important to kids. We don't remember the color the chairs at the bank because we've been to lots of banks before, we don't think that much about colors and we are focusing on different aspects of the experience. I'm more likely to be focusing on interest rates or features of my transaction.

I think we are surprised by stuff like this in part because we underestimate kids. It is easy to do because they go from just being born to known lots of stuff about the world all in such a short period of time.
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#6 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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My 3 yo DS is exactly the same. There have been many examples, but my favorite was when we went to an amusement park for the second time (6 weeks after the first time) and on the way there he said "are we going to go on the waterslide?" And I said "well, it goes into a deep pool so I don't think we will this time" and he said "no, not the blue one, the yellow one". I had no idea what he meant--we didn't even see the water park the first time we went. But when we got there and got a map, we looked at it and he pointed to the water park area and said "see, the yellow slide is little--it's the blue slide that's big and in the deep part." He'd seen that map maybe twice, both times were weeks earlier. We'd never talked about the water park or its slides.

I don't know about photographic memory, though--could be?!
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#7 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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My 8 year old has been the same way since forever, but I agree, it doesn't mean a photographic memory per say. I remember a lot of strange details of things that other people don't, and I have very full, complete memories of things. But I definitely do NOT have a photographic memory.
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#8 of 9 Old 07-24-2010, 11:41 PM
 
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my son too has at times a truly amazing memory, especially for visual details and things like spatial layout. Literally years can go by in between things and he seems to have utterly clear memories of them. But then, he'll forget whole chapter books we've read (or interestingly, he'll say, "Well, I remember one of the pictures"). I don't think he has a photographic memory at all, but, he did test very high ("hit the ceiling") on visual/spatial tasks when he had an IQ test this winter.

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#9 of 9 Old 07-25-2010, 02:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennyP View Post
I can NEVER pull a fast one on him or get away with anything- he remembers when I say I'll do something and don't carry through, even when I've long since forgotten about it.
This sounds like my DD. She never forgets and she can argue very well for her age.

As far as her memory. Yes, chalk us up as parents who are repeatedly astounded by toddler's memory. The other day we got to talking about Halloween. She remembered last Halloween! She said, "Halloween is when you dress up. I was an astronaut. Maybe next time I will be a witch...or a pumpkin." She is 24 months. So last Halloween she was umm 15 months. Probably why she did not remember the candy part. I know for a fact we have not talked about witches since Halloween. Why would that come up? They must have made quite an impression on her, poor thing.

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Originally Posted by Roar View Post
It is cool to see how kids grow and develop. My take on the memory thing is that while it is neat, it is something that is explainable in lots of ways other than a photographic memory. Different details are important to kids. We don't remember the color the chairs at the bank because we've been to lots of banks before, we don't think that much about colors and we are focusing on different aspects of the experience. I'm more likely to be focusing on interest rates or features of my transaction.

I think we are surprised by stuff like this in part because we underestimate kids. It is easy to do because they go from just being born to known lots of stuff about the world all in such a short period of time.
Agree.

I'll never forget when the in-laws went on and on about how our nephew who was 18 months at the time, remembered the cow puppet at their house from the day before. "He came in and went right to the cow puppet. He knew where it was. He remembered it!"

Of course he rembered that cow. That cow is disturbing! You guys are really underestimating this perfectly bright little boy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post
my son too has at times a truly amazing memory, especially for visual details and things like spatial layout. Literally years can go by in between things and he seems to have utterly clear memories of them. But then, he'll forget whole chapter books we've read (or interestingly, he'll say, "Well, I remember one of the pictures"). I don't think he has a photographic memory at all, but, he did test very high ("hit the ceiling") on visual/spatial tasks when he had an IQ test this winter.
I have the closest thing to a photographic memory of anyone I have ever met in real life. I also score very high in the v/s intelligence.

Everywhere I have ever been, I remember. Everywhere.

I always know what direction I am facing. (Oddly, I cannot tell my left from my right. I have to think about what hand I wright with, which is confusing because I am very close to being ambidextrous.)

I can look at a map for a few minutes and then not need it ever again.

As far as the classic photographic memory stuff you see on TV... I can read something once and then tell you where every word is located on the page. But, I can't like read it again in my head. So, it is not that cool.

When I was studying Arabic in college I obviously used the Arabic/English dictionary a lot. I could tell you where every single entry started on the page. So, another student would open to a random page and ask where a certain entry started on the page and I could point to it blindfolded. every. single.entry.

I can do that with a lot of things I read.

Although I can't read my memories in my head, I can see where the words fit on the page. So, I took advantage of this by studying with a lot of charts and really odd looking notes. Then when I would take a test I could see those very easily in my head. I could also just think back to where that word was in the textbook and think about what other words were around it. Sometimes that helped.

DH is the exact opposite it seems in that he is much better with aural memories. He can remember whole songs just hearing them once. (I have to see those words written down.)

I really hope DD inherits my gift, but it seems she is definately taking after DH so far as she has a great aural memory. This is probably why she speaks so well. She is starting to really remember every.thing.we.say. and she repeats it back verbatum.

Example: Tonight, DH had to go into the office real quick, but was going to meet up at either the playground or bookstore.

DD asked me where he went. I kind of was busy, so I did not answer right away, and she answered herself, "Daddy is going to the office for a few minutes but is going to meet us at the playground or bookstore real soon."

This is exactly what DH told me, in passing, about 30 minutes prior. She even used the same intonation.

(Yes, it does get annyong when she asks questions she already knows the answers to.)
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