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Hyperthymesia is a phenomenon in which some people maintain an exceptional memory for events in their personal pasts. People who experience hyperthymesia have a superior ability to recall specific details of autobiographical events, and also tend to spend a large amount of time thinking about their personal pasts.

For someone with hyperthymesia, memories are sometimes described as involuntary mental associations happen instantaneously without the person consciously trying to recall them. For example, when hyperthymestic individuals encounter a date on which a significant event occurred, they will typically "see" a detailed, vivid image of the day in their minds and will often recall other tangential details surrounding it.

Hyperthymestics do not necessarily intend to encode all of these memories, nor do they appear to use purposeful mnemonics. Hyperthymestics are not the same as individuals who can consciously memorize long lists of numbers or strings of random facts. Instead, hyperthymestic memory consists of autobiographical information, encompassing important events as well as pedestrian details.

Hyperthymestic individuals do not necessarily have savant syndrome or autism. Although hyperthymestic individuals are normally able to remember the dates and days of the week on which their personal life events occurred, they are not necessarily 'calendrical calculators'. Instead, the dates they are able to remember are restricted to days in their own lifetimes. Despite their excellent memory for events in their lives, hyperthymestic individuals often have poorer than average recall of arbitrary information (such as facts or trivia).

For some examples of hyperthymesia, click the video below.

The Eagleman Laboratory is investigating hyperthymesia. Some evidence suggests that spatial sequence synesthesia - associating overlearned sequences with spatial locations - may be related to superior memory. However, the exact cause is still unknown - due in part to the relative infrequency of hyperthymesia in the general population. We are seeking more individuals who experience this phenomenon to further elucidate the causes and nature of hyperthymesia.

If you think you might have hyperthymesia, please take our test by clicking on the button below. It will only take about 30 minutes in total. Thank you in advance for your participation and contribution to science.

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