Can You Remember Everything? (Important Facts)
Is It Possible For Someone To Remember Everything?

Can You Remember Everything? (Important Facts)

Is It Possible For Someone To Remember Everything?

Remembering everything is possible. With memory storage of 2.5 petabytes or 2.5 million gigabytes, you have more than enough space to store information in your brain. However, it is a rare thing to remember every single and smallest detail you can get. 

Scientists call the ability to remember everything “hyperthymesia,” and only a small number of people possess this ability. 

If you’re not one of those people, you can still improve your memory if you understand how it works. 

Tag along as we present essential information about memory and how it works. We will also tackle hyperthymesia and photogenic memory to show unique and special cases of people with good memory. Lastly and most importantly, we will give tips on how you can develop a sharper memory. 

Ready? Let’s get started!

How memories work

The brain is a complicated organ, and studies about how it works change every year. Concerning how the brain stores memories, scientists say that memories are stored throughout many brain structures in the connections between neurons. 

Short-term memories, like your hotel’s room number, are stored in the pre-frontal lobe. Short-term memories become long-term ones when the neurons and synapses reach the hippocampus. 

Here, deep in the brain, the hippocampus takes simultaneous memories from a single “episode” and stores them away. This way, when you remember a dinner party that happened ten years ago, you’ll recall it all versus the smells, sounds, and sites as separate memories. 

Photographic memories

You may hear someone say that they have a “photographic” memory. Photographic memories, scientifically called eidetic memories, are when a person can recall an image from memory, having briefly seen it once.

Famous people who say they have photographic memories include Nikola Tesla, C.S. Lewis, Leonardo DaVinci, and Theodore Roosevelt. In the IFL Science article, Just 1% Of People Can Find The Hidden Letter In This Quiz, you can test to see if you have a photographic memory. 

Unforgettable memory or Hyperthymesia

How’d you do on the quiz? If you thought that was hard, you’re not alone, as the majority of people need more time and memory techniques to store information.

There is a minority of people who can remember almost every personal experience and all the events in their lives. Scientists call this phenomenon “hyperthymesia,” or highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). 

Psychologist Charles Fernyhough explores this rare type of memory ability in his book Pieces of Light: The New Science of Memory. In an interview with The Guardian, he briefly sums up hyperthymesia: 

“When we look at how the brain constructs memories, the unreliability of memory makes perfect sense. In storyboarding an autobiographical memory, the brain combines fragments of sensory memory with a more abstract knowledge about events and reassembles them according to the demands of the present.” 

Sometimes people get hyperthymesia and autism confused, but they are two entirely separate things.

Superpowers of Hyperthymestics

Hyperthymestics does not need mnemonic devices and techniques to recall long strings of information. They process short-term memories similarly to how most people do it, but a 2016 research on HSAM found that they have better long-term memory.  

That is why they can easily and precisely recall every single detail about different events in their lives and their associated dates. They can remember what happened when they were small children, but memories are more vivid and specific after they reach the age of 10 or 12. 

Cognitive Strengths and Limitations

Hyperthymestics not only have accurate recall of past experiences but are also slightly superior in several cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities include paragraph recall, face-name associations, and visual memory tasks. 

However, their exceptional memory is limited to autobiographical memory. It means they can only vividly recall information about themselves and their personal experiences. They are also not superior in word-pair memory, digit span, and visual reproduction. 

Brain of Hyperthymestics

Scientists and researchers studied Jill Price, a famous hyperthymestic, to know their brain structures and how it differs from ordinary people. An MRI scan found that the caudate nucleus and temporal lobe work together to automatically encode daily memories. 

Caudete nucleus is an essential part of the brain that automatically stores memories. On the other hand, the temporal lobe is an important part of the brain that stores information, such as dates, facts, and events. 

Additionally, researchers discovered that there are nine structures that contribute to the superior autobiographical memory of hyperthymestics. They also observed differences in the volume of white matter that links the frontal and middle parts of the cortex. This change in volume explains why hyperthymestics showed difficulties in inhibiting memories. 

Another study revealed that there is a substantial activity in the brain’s visual areas, which suggests that hyperthymestics experience their past like a movie in their heads. 

Disadvantage of Hyperthymesia

While it is a nice ability to remember everything, it has its downsides. If you have hyperthymesia, you recall the good things and the bad things that happened in your life, including traumatic events, embarrassing moments, and other painful events. 

Ordinary people can move on with their lives largely because they can somehow forget painful events. 

In the case of hyperthymesia, you cannot forget every single thing about the bad events. Even Jill Price expressed that she relives the exact same feelings of pain and disappointment she experienced before with the same intensity. 

The boy who can’t forget a thing

Scientists have not yet been able to explain this mysterious ability. Those that have it can hardly explain what it is like! 

Take English literature students at Durham University, Aurelien Hayman, for example. He is one of twenty people in the entire world who has this fascinating memory capability. Hayman spoke to The Daily Mail and explained that he can remember in great detail every single day of the last decade of his life. And besides what he did on those days, he can also recall what he was wearing, what was in the news, what he had for dinner, and what the weather was like. Detailing one memory from 2006, he said:

“Now, when asked about the random date of October 1, 2006, for example, Aurelien remembers it was a cloudy Sunday, he listened to the song When You Were Young by The Killers, and he had asked out a girl but been turned down. Not only that, but he recalls that on Saturday, he was wearing a blue t-shirt and saw the girl who would later rebuff him in the city center of his native Cardiff and that on Thursday, there was a power cut at his home.” 

It’s strange to think that some people can recall one evening in their life in great detail!

How to increase your ability to remember things

Various techniques will help you increase your ability to remember things. Maybe not in as much detail as someone with hyperthymesia, but enough to pass the BAR exam. Mnemonic devices, the Loci method, and Iris reading’s Advanced Comprehension & Memory course all offer ways to strengthen the memory muscles in your mind. 

Remember more with mnemonic devices

Mnemonics are any kind of clues that help you remember something by associating the information you want to recall with a word, sentence, or visual image. 

There are different mnemonic devices or techniques you can choose from, including visual images, acronyms, acrostic, rhymes and alliteration, and chunking. 

Visual images

This mnemonic technique involves associating an image with words or names to help you remember them better. It is easier to remember if you choose visual images that are pleasant, clear, colorful, and three-dimensional. 


An acrostic is making up a sentence of every first letter of the words you want to remember. For instance, you can easily remember the notes E, G, B, D, and F if you make a sentence like “Every good boy does fine.” 


An acronym is one of the most common mnemonic devices. You make a new word out of all the first letters of the words or ideas you want to remember. For example, you use ROYGBIV to remember all the seven colors of the rainbow. 

Rhymes and alliteration

A fun way to enhance your memory is using rhymes and alliteration. Alliteration is using a repeating syllable or sound of the word you want to remember. Even jokes can help you remember mundane information. 


Chunking is a technique that involves breaking a long list of information into smaller units and more manageable chunks. A great example is the number 666528989, which you can break down into three sets for easy remembering: 666-528-989. 

Master the method of Loci

Method of Loci is a strategy to enhance your memory, especially sequential memory, and requires you to imagine yourself placing the information you want to remember around your room. 

Then, you visualize yourself walking back into the room and picking up each piece of information in an order similar to how you previously placed it. 

It is beneficial during speech preparation because it helps you remember all of your speech in order. Researchers also found this strategy to be effective in all ages, including older adults, in improving their learning and remembering new information. 

Iris reading’s Advanced Comprehension and Memory course

Another way to increase your ability to remember things is by enrolling in an online course that focuses on memory, such as the Advanced Comprehension and Memory course offered by Iris Reading. 

In this online course, you’ll learn how to improve your everyday memory so you can better recall passwords, names, and appointments. Additionally, we’ll give you the tools and skill set to aid you with reading comprehension of all types of materials. 

What’s more, is that you can have lifetime access to their materials, and it is also compatible with mobile devices. So you can review it however and whenever you want. Furthermore, there is a Certificate of Completion after you finish the course. 


While having the ability to remember everything is an amazing gift, it also has its limitations and downfalls. Nonetheless, if you have this gift, you can treasure it and use it to your advantage. 

If you do not have this ability, you can be forgetful, and recalling information and events can be a bit of a struggle. However, you can always work on improving yourself and your ability to recall by using the method of Loci, practicing with mnemonic devices, or taking an online course. 

Iris Reading offers Advanced Reading Comprehension and Memory courses. This online course will teach you useful strategies for reading comprehension and memory improvement.

Enroll in the Advanced Reading Comprehension and Memory course now!

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  • Betty Russell

    I have this photographic memory. I now understand why I can’t let things go. I’m 64 and just now realized that everyone doesn’t have this. I remember my whole life as a movie playing in my head.