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Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM)

   

Highly superior autobiographical memory is abbreviated as HSAM. Hyperthymestic syndrome or hyperthymesia are its synonyms. It is a memory related phenomena or abnormality in which person remember a large no. of events held in his past life. Basically it consists of two characteristics i.e. person thinks about his past events or events happening now in detail and observe everything 2nd characteristic is about recalling any past event with in seconds.


The word hyperthymesia is derived from two words i.e. hyper which means excessive and thymesis which means remembering. It is an ancient Greek. Person with hyperthymesia can recall almost every day of their past life with exact date and time of event held in past. When person with highly superior autobiographical memory tries to tell or explain about any life event held in past, they recall everything in their mind with scenes (including everything they saw and listen). Person do not even hesitate while describing any scene. Hyperthymesia resemble many other memory related disorders.

Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM)


So, people should learn about it completely to distinguish it from other diseases. This abnormal extensive memory is not a voluntary action but it is totally involuntary and retrieving is automatic. Hyperthymesia is different from autism and savant syndrome as in later two, calenderical calculation is required to recall any event. But in hyperthymesia, person do not have to recall day of the week. It is really important to diagnose this disorder and distinguish it from others. Diagnosis include some tests related to lateralization, memory, language, calculations, IQ, visual spacial, visual motor and some executive functions. Hyperthymestic person have poor memory regarding arbitrary information.
Mostly peoplereported that “it is an uncontrollable and totally exhausting” and some people say that “it is a burden to memorize everything”. Person think about past all the time and is not able to attend his present properly and do not even plan his future properly.

Some people live in their past all the time. They are not able to memorize new things. Scientists state that hyperthymesia is not about remembering all the past life perfectly but it is a selective ability (remembering some special or autobiographical event really close to them). They may not remember what someone have said but he can tell about someone clothes and color of clothes. Information contained by Hyperthymestic person is semantic and it can only recalled by semantic clues. When clue is received, person remember all his past events like a series in the form of episodes. One thought intriguer second thought and so on.

These memory episodes resemble spreading activation model. Once person start thinking, he cannot stop it willingly. Person talks differently from what he thinks. Basic physiology behind this highly superior autobiographical memory is enlargement of temporal lobe and the caudate nucleus. As temporal lobe is responsible for saving, storage and encoding memory. It is a very sensitive disorder, so treatment plan contains some therapies like psychological and physical therapies to relax mind and body of patient.

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