Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory

Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory

I was just reading through a diary I wrote about a decade ago when I went travelling. Whilst I remember one or two explicit events, the majority of the content was seemingly completely new to me.

For example. I lost my wallet after a drunken night out in Hong Kong. I remember that point, and that point alone. I do not really recollect the context and specifics, simply the specific thing that happened. From those ten pages, that statement is pretty much all I remember.

Similarly I remember being pushed in a pond when I was young. The kid that did it pulled me out, and my Grandfather gave him 50p as a reward. I do not remember any of this actually happening, but simply because the story is told so often in my family it seems like a real memory.

I work in software, and spend a lot of time coding. As such I inherently need to remember things. For example how to make x do y, or simply the most appropriate design pattern with which to attack a problem. I have no issue with that..

Academically, I was always relatively intelligent. I did well in exams, and got a good degree. Then, thinking about it I do not necessarily remember much of those subject areas that I spent my youth learning about. Rather, I remember the things that are still of interest to me. Those things that are reinforced in my mind.

Your red or my red

I remember reading somewhere that different people see different things. The colour red for one person is different to red for another person. It is probably fairly difficult to test this because descriptions and their interpretations are equally individual.

It hit me that maybe my memory is not normal. Maybe I have just assumed that my memory is normal all my life but everyone else remembers everything.

I googled 'cant remember last year' and ended up on this page which mentioned 'Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory'. My title was hyperbolic, but reading these articles did get me thinking.

I can remember that I did not do much last week. If you questioned me hard enough I could probably remember specific things that I did on a given day, but I certainly could not relive things. I could not 're-think' something I did and walk through it with a mental picture of it.

Last month.. forget it. Last year.. Ha !

Baby memories

Apparently it is quite common for people not to remember things from when they were a baby. I can't remember much of my child (or adult) -hood at all. I have no episodic memories.

If I was going to guess, I'd blame it on computers. I have spent over half of my life staring at a screen. After a long day staring at a screen I get what can only be described as 'brain fuzz'. That is also how I would describe my memory of life - 'fuzz'.

Maybe I just need to get outside and make more memorable memories :)


Thomas Clowes

Thomas Clowes

I am a 28 year old software engineer from the United Kingdom. During the day I build multi platform applications. In my spare time I eat food and run marathons. Sometimes I write angry tweets.