来源:百度文库 编辑:偶看新闻 时间:2020/11/29 12:18:02



Brad Williams
It doesn't have to be an extraordinary dayto be memorable.' Photograph: David Nevala/Twentytwentyagency.com  


I can pick a date from the past 53 yearsand know instantly where I was, what happened in the news and even the day ofthe week. I've been able to do this since I was four. It's not a memory trickand I don't rely on mnemonics; I can just remember things from 10 years ago aseasily as recalling what I had for breakfast.


As a child, I never realised it was unusualto be able to remember everything in my life with pinpoint accuracy – I thoughteveryone could do it. I first remember linking a date with a memory on myfourth birthday. After that, if I wanted to remember what day somethinghappened on, I would visualise a calendar of that year and literally check itin my mind's eye. I was considered smart – I could read by the age of two – butthere weren't any gifted and talented programmes back in the 60s, so I just hada normal school career.


After graduating, I became a news presenterat a radio station and my perfect memory came in handy for interviewing peopleor researching segments. I was also pretty hard to beat at Trivial Pursuit, butthat was as far as it went.


Then, five years ago, my brother Eric readabout a research project looking into memory, led by professor of neurobiologyDr James McGaugh at the University of California. Afterextensive tests and MRI scans, I was one of the first people in the world to bediagnosed with highly superior autobiographical memory syndrome (HSAMS) orhyperthymesia.


Since then, 20 people with HSAMS have beenidentified. One theory to explain my memory is I have a better retrieval system– everyone has their memories stored away; I am simply more efficient atrecalling them.


I never feel overwhelmed with the amount ofinformation my brain absorbs. My mind seems to be able to cope and theinformation is stored away neatly. When I think of a sad memory, I do what everybodydoes – try to put it to one side. I don't think it's harder for me just becausemy memory is clearer. Powerful memory doesn't make my emotions any more acuteor vivid. I can recall the day my grandfather died – 29 April 1968 – and thesadness I felt when we went to the hospital the day before. I also rememberthat the musical Hair opened on Broadway on the same day – they both just popinto my mind in the same way.


It doesn't have to be an extraordinary dayto be memorable. Most people can remember what they were doing on 9/11, butevery day is like 9/11 for me. I once played a memory game with my brotherduring a car journey, and 23 years later I can still remember the words: fish,book, cheese, duck…


If you throw any date at me, say, 26December 1962, I can tell you what happened. We were at my grandparents' farmand I remember how cold the tiled floor felt underfoot. I know that my grandmahad put out frosted flakes for breakfast and I can still smell the wood-burningstove.


Having this skill has made me feel specialand proud, too. I even have a special slot on a radio show called Beat Brad, inwhich listeners call in to test me.


Now people know about my memory, they oftenwant to find out what was happening on the day of their birth. Sometimes theday in question won't have been particularly remarkable, so I won't haveanything to say, but I can quickly follow up with some trivia from thepreceding or following day.


Some people can become annoyed, as in,"There goes Brad again, showing off his brain", and I'm careful notto get into arguments because I am always right, which isn't exactly endearing.When people get a fact wrong, I try to suppress the impulse to correct them.


I don't have perfect general knowledge,though. I'm best at facts that relate to my life or that I've read about in thenews. I can be caught out by a question that doesn't interest me.


Now that I'm associated with this ability,I do worry that my memory is not as good as it was – maybe it's age or maybeI'm becoming lazy about exercising it. Wouldn't it be tragic to go from"the human Google" to "the man who can't rememberanything"?


Despite my amazing memory, I still lose mykeys – the difference with me is I can remember the date I lost them.