Memory

Some Aspies have extraordinary long-term memory, sometimes photographic memory or close to it, especially when it comes to memorising facts connected to one’s favourite special interests and recalling previously experienced events. Some have extra good visual-spatial memory, others may have extra good memory for numbers, etc.

“I have a photographic memory for everything audio, visual, smell, touch, or any other form of perception.”

– Kirsten, Aspie

“It is very easy for me to remember numbers; a bit too easy actually, as I have my head full of phone numbers, IP-addresses etc.”

– Tobias, Aspie from Sweden

“My memory is such that I can and do store and remember EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. In terms of recall, it is like anyone else’s. If there is nothing to jog the memory, then it’s not there, but the second someone mentions something that reminds me of an event, I remember the event in its entirety, including smells, colors, touch and taste sensations. This holds true for any event.  Not just traumatic ones. It’s good when I recall experiences with women but bad when I remember bullies.”

“I tend to store data two different ways:

“1. In areas that I hold or have held an interest I have good short and long term recall with no inaccuracies or loss of data: I can draw from memory and accurately recite facts about the 37 species of wildcats, things I have read about the Vietnam War and World War II, and other random areas of interest. People have said that I am merely an encyclopaedia and doubt that I can actually understand or extrapolate the facts I have stored away, but that is untrue. I merely SOUND like an encyclopaedia because I see no sense on making concise facts that I have read and gathered LESS concise by adding commentary and supposition to them. I can and do contemplate the data that I take in, and some of the resulting ideas I have formed have been quite interesting.

“2. In areas that I am NOT interested in my brain tends to delete facts from short term memory right away, but I still can recall them from my mental file cabinet weeks, months, and years later as I would facts that I care about – provided someone else jogs my memory, and provided they link it somehow to a subject I find interesting.”

– Tom, Aspie from USA

Many have memories from a much earlier age than considered normal or possible.

“Earliest memory when I was about three months. Verified it with several members of my family. Even details about the room were correct and couldn’t have known that from photographs or something like that.”

– Lida, Aspie from the Netherlands

“I still have memories of being in my crib. I remember being laid down for a nap during the daytime and looking up at the light fixture in the center of the room. The sunlight would sparkle off of the glass fixture and if you squinted, you could see all the colors of the rainbow in one warm star-shaped formation. I used to pretend that by staring at it long enough, it would become a doorway into a fairyland that was full of flowers and green lawns. I would also climb out of my crib sometimes and crawl over to a white, painted dresser we had, crawl behind it (it sat diagonally in the corner across from the crib) and pick the paint off the back of it. To me there seemed nothing more enjoyable than picking those paint chips off the dresser.”

– Tom, Aspie from USA

“An early memory I have is when I’m lying in the pram and wondering why the leaves fall off the trees (this must have been in the autumn)..”

– ‘missbutterfly’, adult Aspie from Sweden

Short-term or working memory may be a lot poorer for many, as well as memory for social things, names, faces and subjects not connected to one’s special interests.

“I find that my long-term memory is incredibly accurate.  It’s that short-term immediate memory that’s lacking to a large degree.  However, the farther away I get from the day in question, the clearer the recollections are.”

– ‘Raven’, female Aspie from Canada

“If I am not interested in something I can’t remember it. But for some reason small facts I remember that are not really important. While in school they used to have someone else take notes for me so that I could recall more of what was said instead of trying to do both and remembering nothing.”

– Nathan, Aspie from USA

“I have a bad memory.  I even have trouble remembering my kids’ birthdays.  I forget names, faces, what I said, what someone else said, etc. But when I am in court, or when I am talking about a case with someone, or the law, I can remember everything almost verbatim.  I remember when I was a child I could memorize the books I had read. It’s almost like having a photographic memory.”

– Anne Marie, ADHD/Aspie attorney from USA

“Well, I usually have a very good memory for details on things like genetics, science, math, astronomy, but I am terrible for remembering names.  It’s not that I ‘forget’ so much as that I assign a wrong name to the person and it sticks in my mind and refuses to be replaced by the real name.”

– Kathy J, Aspie from USA

Some have good memory but are unable to access it under pressure or stress. Though this may be true of anyone, Aspies and the Highly Sensitive often more easily get stressed and are therefore at an extra disadvantage.

“I think poor working memory is an effect of having been under pressure and demands for a long time, i.e. a stress-symptom. My working memory in social situations is practically non-existent. When I am able to disregard all the demands I feel on myself, my working memory usually functions perfectly. To get rid of all the stressful thoughts usually takes about three days.”

– Stefan, Aspie from Sweden

Memory problems can sometimes be caused by physical disease or environmental triggers.

“After a migraine its like my memory pattern has had holes punched in it and it takes a few days for me to reweave things together.”

– Kathy J, Aspie from USA

5 Comments »

  1. john said,

    i have an amazing memory , but weak in short term …..
    neither me nor my dad ,nor my 2 brothers can take any statin drug cuz it really wipes parts of our memories. We all have aspergers and high IQs. i wonder if it is cuz we are aspie?.

    any other aspies/asds have memory loss from statins?

  2. AJ said,

    I have a good memory but extermely weak in the short term memory. I often forget about doing homework so in college I’m failing math my favorite subject, both of my brothers are aspies as am I. I think my father is an aspie but we both have Essential Tremor

  3. ashley said,

    i cant remember unless it has something to do with me personally or affects someone i care about. Other than that its pretty hard to remember even the simplest things like where i live, how old i am, my siblings names and ages even what the day is right after i checked

  4. I have perfect memory for numbers, sometimes I even afraid because there hundreds of phone numbers in my head and I think that I will remember them for all my life. It is really interesting post! Thank you for providing this information. Great job!

  5. mel c said,

    It’s strange, but I have an especially good memory for learning music-and have in the past been able to teach myself pieces in about a week without even practising in a particularly strict way. I find myself relying on my musical memory in places where my fingers don’t remember the notes, am always learning a very large repertoire(over any given year I learn a whole concert’s worth, say 90mins) and when it comes to music I can visualise pieces, and play most pieces I’ve heard back in my head almost to the end. I can also come back to playing pieces I’ve left a long time, so long as it’s been less than a few years. My dad always tells me my head’s too full of notes to remember anything else but that’s not true either-I remember most of the proofs for maths results so long as I am following them during the lecture, and the plots for fantasy books which I read(I always seem to ruin it the moment after suggesting a book to someone…). I just have a terrible short term memory, and forget names/faces which generally makes it seem like I have a bad memory 😦

    I hate that panic moment when someone asks me my age and I am genuinely afraid I’ll forget >_<


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: