Photographic Memory

I argue that savant skills are latent in us all –  Prof. Alan Snyder

How to Get Photographic Memory

In 1997 I had the pleasure of modelling (interviewing) a friend of mine who has an extraordinary ability to recount the written word from memory as if he were sat there in front of you reading word by word.

This extraordinary ability is commonly referred to as a ‘Photographic Memory’ or an ‘Eidetic Memory’.

Is however a photographic memory an extraordinary ability or is it something we all posses but don’t know how to get access to?

In this article I’ll be exploring some of the myths and thoughts around memory and specifically a photographic memory.

Photographic memory: A definition

The term photographic memory or an eidetic memory is used to describe a person who is able to ‘see’ with photo clarity an image in their mind and recall from this memory (image) detailed information about this image without any external aids. That is, the external aids are pictures or text.

Let us be clear about what we mean by image. This image what this means is t

This post is related to a People with Photographic Memory in relation to text. A photographic/eidetic memory also covers these Types of Memory sound/words and pictorial images.

I assume from this post that whoever reads this already has the ability to ‘see’ internal imagery (pictures/movies) at a conscious level. If not then further training is required. This post will not cover that.

The main distinctions

Memory and the act of remembering is a subject in and all by itself and would cover a book or two or more to describe and just outline.

There are three main distinctions and Test for Photographic Memory that cover the class of memory input and remembering in relation to an eidetic memory.


  • State
  • Behaviour
  • Submodalities


In all interviews with the model MrX, MrX demonstrated a ‘know-nothing’ state for both input of sensory data and output (remembering). This seems significant as the act of verbalising the words either as internal dialogue or with slight lip movement would interrupt the flow of data needed to pass from short to long term memory. The case for speed reading and photo-reading is well documented for the need in which to bypass the function of Ai in order to process at speed and utilise the natural functions of lower brain processes.

The meeting John Grinder, Carmen and I had with Prof. Alan Snyder from the Centre for the Mind also corroborates this finding in the case of Autistic Savants who also share this ability of Photo Memory. The probable exception is Raymond Babbit (Rainman) who was noted to have had an excessively large corpus callosum (a birth defect) that allowed a phenomenal rate of data flow between the two hemispheres. This is also well documented.

I argue that savant skills are latent in us all. My hypothesis is that savants have privileged access to lower level, less-processed information, before it is packaged into holistic concepts and meaningful labels. Owing to a failure in top-down inhibition, they can tap into information that exists in all of our brains, but is normally beyond conscious awareness. This suggests why savant skills might arise spontaneously in otherwise normal people, and why such skills might be artificially induced by low-frequency repetitive trans-cranial magnetic stimulation. It also suggests why autistic savants are atypically literal with a tendency to concentrate more on the parts than on the whole and why this offers advantages for particular classes of problem solving, such as those that necessitate breaking cognitive mindsets. A strategy of building from the parts to the whole could form the basis for the so-called autistic genius. Unlike the healthy mind, which has inbuilt expectations of the world (internal order), the autistic mind must simplify the world by adopting strict routines (external order).

Prof. Alan Snyder

Therefore the case for a know-nothing state both in ‘input’ and ‘output’ (remembering) seems to corroborate my findings.

I suggest for those versed in either or the modelling state (self-hypnosis) and/or NewCode games to utilise these to access this state, MrX would scan the said text approximately 10 times before ‘reading’. I suggest this scan is 1) in a know nothing state (Zero internal dialogue or processing of words) 2) should be done as many times as needed UNTIL a feeling/sense of completion is done.

(My recommendation is to use a piece of text with a subject you are ‘highly interested in’ that a) is rich in predicates and b) you desire to repeat it.)


3) Submodalities – in short, the subject MrX demonstrated the ability to see clearly in mind the images of both the text and the meaning of the text. That is, if the text was apple he would see it as written as well as a pictorial image of the apple. The text image was large and bold and would appear to ‘merge’ with the pictorial image like an overlay in photographic work.

Phrases and words would be ‘highlighted’ in his mind they would ‘jump out at him’.

I therefore suggest that an initial starting point is to take a piece of text and either with a highlighter pen – highlight the KEY points & phrases and use different pens for different points and DO This without any comprehension verbally of the words ie do it in a know-nothing state.

and or make the text ‘differently in your mind – BOld it ChAngE FOnt & TExt siZE.

The second key to this -practice, practice practice.

Recall –

Recall is a know-nothing state.

A softening of the conscious mind and allowing your attention to flow as the imagery of what you’ve read comes to mind.

Allow this to be gentle and flowing without interruption or internal dialogue as to whether it is accurate or right,

The hurdle for some will be stopping the internal dialogue from coming up when there is something that is missing from the text in mind ie unable to remember a piece of text. The skill is allowing yourself to flow through and past this – to train your mind and intuition to ‘let go’.

Stare – defocused into the distance – relax and allow yourself to go into a light trance and SEE what ever comes up.

It isn’t about accuracy at this point – it’s about letting the state flow and noticing what you notice.

Consciously practice with 5-10 words and SEEING them in your minds eye – manipulate the shape and size, colour and distance. Learn how to manipulate your own internal representations.


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