Researchers at UC Irvine have identified the first known case of a new memory syndrome – a woman with the ability to perfectly and instantly recall details of her past. Her case is the first of its kind to be recorded and chronicled in scientific literature and could open new avenues of research in the study of learning and memory.
Researchers Elizabeth Parker, Larry Cahill and James L. McGaugh spent more than five years studying the case of “AJ,” a 40-year-old woman with incredibly strong memories of her personal past. Given a date, AJ can recall with astonishing accuracy what she was doing on that date and what day of the week it fell on. Because her case is the first one of its kind, the researchers have proposed a name for her syndrome – hyperthymestic syndrome, based on the Greek word thymesis for “remembering” and hyper, meaning “more than normal.”
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