Thursday 29 May 2014

The year I lost eidetic memory was the year I became creative


I was always very good at exams - the best in my non-selective school - heavily reliant on a strong eidetic/ literal/ photographic memory; and this continued for my first year at medical college where I gained a Distinction.

In my second year - aged 19-20 - at some point the eidetic memory went. I realized it at the time, and indeed, for a while, my exam results suffered a bit - I dropped out of the top ten.

I went from the eidetic memory typical of childhood to the 'semantic' - meaning-based, memory of adulthood. Once I had changed my learning strategy, my exam results improved again - and I graduated near the top of the class.

But I have only just noticed that this eidetic/ semantic shift was exactly the time when I began seriously to do 'creative writing' (although I never attained any competence at it) - for example I worked fairly hard at writing a play which I submitted to a competition.

It strikes me that this is probably a reason why children are seldom (if ever) really creative - and why eidetic memory savants are not creative.