hyperthymesia

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

hyper- (prefix meaning ‘over, beyond; excessive’) +‎ Ancient Greek θύμηση (thúmēsē, memory) +‎ -ia (suffix forming names of diseases).

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Noun[edit]

hyperthymesia (uncountable)

  1. (neuroscience) A rare condition in which an individual possesses a superior autobiographical memory and is able to recall the vast majority of personal events and experiences in life.
    Synonyms: highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM), hyperthymestic syndrome, superior autobiographical memory
    • 2008, Mikita Brottman, The Solitary Vice: Against Reading (A PopMatters Book), Berkeley, Calif.: Counterpoint, →ISBN, page 160:
      Others may have some degree of hyperthymesia — they may spend an abnormally large amount of time thinking about their personal past, and have an extraordinary capacity to recall specific events in detail.
    • 2012 November, Marilu Henner; Lorin Henner, Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future, trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Gallery Books, →ISBN, page 8:
      Lesley hadn't been interested in the story, because she didn't think that HSAM (or hyperthymesia, as it was called then) was that rare, having known me for so many years.
    • 2013, Deepak Chopra; Rudolph E. Tanzi, Super Brain: Unleash the Explosive Power of Your Mind, London: Rider, →ISBN, page 46:
      We discussed memory in the previous chapter of this book, and hyperthymesia is the ultimate example of an ability that everyone shares being carried to superhuman lengths—only, it's very human still.
    • 2013, Annette Kujawski Taylor, “Hyperthymesia”, in Annette Kujawski Taylor, editor, Encyclopedia of Human Memory, volume 1 (A–D), Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, →ISBN, pages 547–548:
      Hyperthymesia is also known as superior autobiographical memory. People either have it or they do not, and there are no more than 20 documented cases of people known to have hyperthymesia. [...] Most people diagnosed with hyperthymesia can remember minute details of events from any given day in their past lives, sometimes beginning with puberty but often going back to early childhood.

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