Re: The Mind of a Mnemonist

From: Stevan Harnad (
Date: Sun Nov 26 1995 - 22:10:08 GMT

> From: "DONNA CRUMLEY" <>
> Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 17:44:00 GMT
dc> When presented with noise at certain levels 'S' was able to see in his
dc> mind strips of colour ,it was the same case with touch and taste.There
dc> where no distinct lines seperating vision from hearing,or hearing from
dc> a sense of touch or taste:

This is called synesthesia -- when sights and sounds and feels and
smells are all intertwined. S had both a very strong, concrete, sensory
memory and these cross-sensory synesthesias. Were they a cause or an
effect of his memory. If you remembered everything, you'd remember every
little detail of every sensory event. Perhaps we all have a bit of
synesthesia, but we just don't ever remember it, because they keep
cancelling one another out.

dc> This type of recollection proved to be a problem for 'S' because if
dc> an image was read to him quickly, one image would overlap with another
dc> in his mind.Images would begin to crowd in upon one another and would
dc> become contorted.

Since his images are so vividly remembered, they don't cancel one
another out, and so they interfere.

dc> a defect,not in memory,but in perception:

But also in cognition, because his infinitely faithful memory for
perceptual detail made him miss patterns and regularities across
different events: Each was so well remembered that S had trouble
ABSTRACTING regularities by ignoring irrelevant details.

dc> 'S' had problems understanding science because he could only understand
dc> what he could visualise,this of course led to problems in everyday
dc> life.

Science is mostly about abstracting regularities and ignoring irrelevant

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