Eidetic imagery, more commonly called photographic memory, has long been the subject of curiosity and debate among scientists.
People with photographic memories explain that they can still “see” a picture even after it is removed from sight. They often use present tense when answering questions about the missing picture and can recall in extraordinary detail what it contained because they are actually still viewing the picture on a blank canvas in their mind.The majority of people identified as possessing a photographic memory are children. Scientists estimate the ability occurs in 2 percent to 10 percent of young children. Boys and girls are equally likely to have a photographic memory. With very few exceptions, however, researchers have shown that almost no adults seem to have the ability to form photographic images.
So why don’t adults demonstrate photographic memory? Experts believe that talking (either out loud or in your mind) while viewing an original image interferes with the mind’s ability to photograph the image. Because adults are much more likely to try and encode the picture, both visually and verbally the image is not stored as a photographic image.
Note: Stephen Wiltshire is one of a rare few documented adults with photographic memory capabilities. He is capable of drawing the entire skyline of a city after a helicopter ride. Stephen is autistic and communicates through his art. To view Stephen’s work visit his website at http://www.stephenwiltshire.co.uk.