Aurelien Hayman, The Boy Who Recalls Everything | Iris Reading
Aurelien Hayman, the Boy Who Recalls Everything

Aurelien Hayman, The Boy Who Recalls Everything

Aurelien Hayman, the Boy Who Recalls Everything

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to know everything? Would you like a superpower that doesn’t let you forget anything that’s ever happened to you? Would that be a blessing or a curse? 

Well, we’re going to find out today. 

Aurelien Hayman, a young man from Cardiff, Wales, knows this all too well. He’s one of the only few people in the whole wide world with hyperthymesia—a highly superior autobiographical memory.

You could ask him anything, and he’d tell you what happened then and there. So, in today’s article, we’re diving into his journey with this superpower. 

Let’s get started. 

Who is Aurelien Hayman?

Aurelien was a 20-year-old student at Durham in the early 2010s when his condition became a global hit. 

He had a pretty normal childhood. He described his early childhood as a “vague recollection” of memories, but things started to change when he turned eleven.

And it’s not something he realized overnight. 

He described that when he was fourteen, he discovered that he was pretty good at remembering some things that had happened a long, long time ago. 

For most of us, we don’t remember what we were doing on a random afternoon on June 24 last year, for instance, but Aurelien remembers it all.

For example, he exactly recalls that, on October 1, 2006, it was a cloudy Sunday, he listened to The Killers’ When You Were Young, and he was turned down by a girl. 

Not only that, but he remembers that on the Saturday before that, he wore a blue t-shirt and saw the girl who would reject him a day later in the Cardiff city center. 

Earlier that week, on Thursday, he knows that there was a power cut at his home. 

So, he can pretty much recall any information about conversations he had, shows he watched, or songs he heard once upon a time. 

Nobody else in his family shares Aurelien’s power to not forget. 

What is hyperthymesia? 

Hyperthymesia is a rare condition that allows people to recall unusually large amounts of details about their life. As of recent, only around 60 people have been diagnosed with hyperthymesia worldwide

Like Aurelien, people with this condition can remember exact details like dates and what clothes they were wearing. 

It’s said that these people spend loads of time thinking about the past and have trouble staying in the moment. 

What causes hyperthymesia? 

As this condition is a recent phenomenon, the exact cause isn’t yet known, but there are some theories on hyperthymesia causes.

1. Genetic

One study shows that people with superior autobiographical memory have a different brain structure, although this research is quite preliminary.

2. Biological

Another study implies that people with hyperthymesia have hyperactivity in some areas of their brains, such as the amygdala.

3. Psychological

This theory suggests that people with this condition obsessively think about their past, and it’s this regular thinking that strengthens their ability to recall everything. 

How did it affect Aurelien?

Ordinary people retrieve information like dates and what they had for lunch from their long-term memory in the right frontal lobe of the brain. 

Aurelien does the same, but his long-term memory capacity is way more developed than usual as he also makes use of his left frontal lobe, which is normally used for things like language. 

But it happened subconsciously. Aurelien revealed that there was no method or technique to it and he wasn’t aware that his memories were being coded—it was just like being able to access something from a filing cabinet very quickly. 

It was like dates had pictures, as it was a very visual process. 

But he also shared that his remarkable memory didn’t help him too much at university with exams or essays. 

He opened up about having a good autobiographical memory generally, but it didn’t work as well with an academic piece of work. 

What have experts said about Aurelien?

Professor Giuliana Mazzoni, Hull University’s Head of Psychology, put Aurelien through a series of tests and found that he could remember details about his life very vividly.

She said, “We were pleasantly surprised to see that he could remember so much information about his life, with little objective details everywhere.”

Professor Mazzoni and her team confirmed everything Aurelien told them and fact-checked the answers relating to the day of the week, and the weather. etc., and found that he was right about it all. 

Aurelien’s ability to recall details about his life were also showcased in the Channel 4 documentary titled “The Boy Who Can’t Forget.”

The downsides of hyperthymesia

While the idea of having a perfect memory sounds great, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine in reality. 

Think about it. You’d never be able to forget any bad thing that’s happened to you.

With perfect autobiographical memory, you’d forever remember every terrible outfit you wore, every bad dish of pasta you ate, and even every person that was ever rude to you. 

Doesn’t sound all that great now, does it? 

People with hyperthymesia tend to be overthinkers and with that comes an inability to sleep, rest, or even relax for a second.

Also, these people have a very hard time focusing on the present and are always more prone to depression

Here’s an example of the first person to ever get diagnosed with it. 

Jill Price, a 56-year-old author from New Jersey, remembers every single detail of the last forty years of her life. 

She’s spoken about how she’s become a prisoner to her own memory and the emotional stress of it is too hard to explain to anybody else. 

Her state has been called a “living hell” by some people. She’s revealed that she cries up to ten times every day because of bad memories that refuse to leave her mind. Her brother described her as “constantly suffering.”

There’s no off button to stop your thoughts and, at one point, it’s bound to become too much to bear. 

After all, which one of us doesn’t want a quiet moment of peace? Unfortunately, for Jill and Aurelien, there aren’t many of those. 

Wrapping up

Aurelien Hayman has a life full of memories. Whether that’s a good thing or not, we’d let you guys decide for yourself. 

In the meantime, if you’re looking to improve your own memory, try this Maximizing Memory course that will cover practical techniques to help you remember whatever you need. 

It’s ideal for students and professionals. So what are you waiting for? Sign up right now.

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