Is There a Way to Develop a Photographic Memory?

You can easily find courses online that promise to give you photographic memory with a few minutes a day of easy exercises. I haven’t tried them all, so maybe I just missed the one that works, but let’s be real here: they don’t do what they promise. It’s not that they are completely useless, the exercises can help you improve your attention and visualization abilities, but you won’t get “photographic memory” from them. If you find a course that works, let me know, cause it would be pretty cool to learn this.

Don’t feel bad about it thinking that you were born with bad genes or that you “lost” this during childhood and that a few lucky people have this talent that you can never develop. As far as scientists can tell, photographic memory doesn’t exist at all. Nobody has it. Some people have managed to develop phenomenal memory skills, but they have nothing to do with photographic memory.

The closest thing to it is what is known as eidetic memory. Eidetic memory is merely a high degree of short term visual memory, or the ability to keep an image in your mind with high detail for a few minutes after exposure. It is not all that useful but you could probably train it. One way to try would be to work on Dual N-Back training which is something that seems to improve memory and intelligence overall (Google “Brain Workshop”, it is a free, open source software you can use for this). This should also help with your attention and concentration, which are key for memory (if you are distracted, how can you remember stuff? It’s not that you “forgot” where you put your car keys, it’s that you didn’t even notice it in the first place).

If you are having problems with memory, the first thing you should do is take a look at your health. Health is actually a very broad topic and while medicine pretends to be a solid science, even the best doctors only barely understand how our bodies work and how to ensure optimum health. Just make sure to take a broad and reputable multivitamin/multimineral (normal doses, don’t bother with megadoses unless you actually know what you are doing), eat fish once in a while, avoid being too sedentary (but don’t overdo on exercise either) and check to see if there is any particular food that you have some intolerance or allergy to. Gluten is a big one and most people should probably stay away from it even if they don’t notice any symptoms of intolerance, but you may have an issue with other types of foods.

Then if you want to go to the next level and develop an awesome mind, there are memory techniques you can use. They go by the name of mnemonics and were first developed by the ancient Greeks to memorize long speeches. Most of them make use of visualization, using pictures in your mind that help you remember whatever it is you want to remember. Some people are able to memorize long texts by just pacing back and forth reading it aloud for hours upon hours everyday…. but that’s not very efficient and sooner or later, you hit a limit. Visualization based memory techniques are much more effective and efficient. Yes, even if your visualization skills suck. If you can see, you can learn to visualize.

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