Can you develop a photographic memory?
The French conjurer Robert Houdin was known for an outrageous mind-stunt:
He’d glance at a shop window, just for a second or so.
Then, to people’s amazement, he’d recall every single item displayed in that window … in complete detail… and entirely from his visual memory.
Similar mind-stunts are known from other individuals who, for example, could remember people’s appearances in minute detail, just after a single look.
Then there’s Kim Jung Gi, a Korean artist with an eidetic memory. Kim Jung Gi can transfer detailed drawings from his visual memory onto the canvas. In an interview he said, as a kid, he trained himself replaying cartoons in his head after watching them on TV.
Chances are, you’ve heard of several other phenomenal people like that.
Now, you probably ask yourself: with the right exercises, …
Is it possible to develop a photographic memory?
Or do you have to be lucky enough to be born with a perfect visual memory?
I believe you can train the mind and enhance your visual memory to the point where you’ll be able to take “visual snapshots” of anything you want. Like people’s faces, architecture, fashion, texts, etc.
The only drawback is you need to dedicate a serious amount of time to exercise your perception and your visual memory. Like I stated in my other post on how to learn visualization from scratch, your mind works like a muscle. (If you’re able to visualize already you know that you can “photograph” your environment and reproduce it on your mind’s screen.)
But now, let’s take it to the next level. I invite you to join me on this challenge to develop the skill of taking mental snapshots.
Visual Memory Exercise
If you practice this daily for at least 20 minutes, you will quickly realize that your real mind power hasn’t reached its limits yet.
Photographic Memory Exercise 01:
Visual Memory Road-Map
With this exercise you’ll map out your neighborhood, creating a detailed mental representation of all neighborhood houses.
Next time you leave your house, take a good look at your neighbor’s house. Observe its colors and its general shape. Start with the big shapes and the general appearance of the building.
Later, when you arrive someplace where you can sit down, close your eyes and try recalling as much as you can. Create a list of all the details you’ve observed. The more information you can remember, the better.
On the following day, repeat the same process. And the next day after that.
Guess what will happen?
You’ll develop an amazing visual representation of that one building. Once you’re happy with the level of detail you can recall of that house, proceed to the next one. Soon you’ll be able to navigate through your neighborhood entirely in your mind.
Depending on how much time you invest with this, you’ll get fantastic results, very quickly.
Photographic Memory Exercise 02:
I’ve read that you got to practice this kind of exercise if you join the special forces in the U.S.
This perception exercise will increase your ability to observe so that you’re able to capture people and objects in your environment – after a quick glance – and recall a high level of detail at will.
Here’s how to practice:
- Have a friend reveal to you a dozen (or more) objects, for about 10-15 seconds.
- Then, try recalling as many objects from your memory as you can.
- See if you can describe the appearance of each of those objects (color, size, shape, …)
You’ll recognize that the more you practice, the more objects you will be able to recall and describe.
What if you want to practice your perception alone? Check this out: I’ve been using this cool site that displays to you a set of random items.
Load a fresh set of items and observe them for a moment (without reading the names below). Then close your eyes and try recalling (visually) all the items in your mind.
It gets more fun, the better you get at it.
Of course, you can practice this with people, or like Houdin did, with the contents shop windows.
If you feel stuck at making any progress, start taking notes. Write down everything you can remember. Describe every wrinkle, spot, color, shape, …
I think I don’t need to mention how useful this ability can be to you.
Photographic Memory Exercise 03:
Visual Memory Photo-Chain
First, go to Flickriver.com. You’ll see a stream of Flickr-images and here’s what to do:
Observe the first photograph, close your eyes, and recall as many details as possible.
Next, proceed to the second image absorbing as much as you can, and recalling all its details with your eyes closed.
Now, in your mind, bring back the first image and then imagine scrolling down to the second image. Again, try to recollect them vividly.
Go to the 3rd image and repeat the whole procedure, starting with the first image. With a little practice, you’ll remember a long sequence of photos in sequence. Forwards and backward.
If you challenge your mind with these simple exercises, practice for 14 days daily, you’ll improve your visual memory dramatically.
Try it for yourself. Realize you can bring your visual memory to a new level. And, who knows, if you invest serious time in practicing, maybe you’ll be able to develop a photographic memory.
Please let me know in the comments below how these exercises helped you to improve your visual memory.