Neurophilosophy

jill_price.jpg

The WBUR/NPR programme On Point has a very interesting interview with Jill Price (right), a 42-year-old woman from Los Angeles who has a “non-stop, uncontrollable and automatic” episodic memory.

Known in the scientific literature as A.J., Price is the first documented case of hyperthymestic syndrome, a condition in which autobiographical memories cannot be forgotten. Consequently, Price recalls every miniscule detail of her life since the age of 14, “like a movie” which is played over and over again on a daily basis.

Since Price’s case was first reported in 2006, a handful of people have come forward claiming to have hyperthymesia, but so far the condition has been confirmed in only two others: Brad Williams from Wisconsin and Rick Baron from Ohio.

One of the guests on the WBUR/NPR programme is Larry Cahill, an associate professor of neurology and behaviour at the University of California, Irvine, who co-authored the 2006 paper in which Price’s case was first reported.

(Jill Price’s memoir, The Woman Who Can’t Forget, which was written with Bart Davis, was published earlier this month; the photograph of Price comes from this USA Today story.)

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Comments

  1. #1 BGG
    May 21, 2008

    There are a lot of things in life that I am aware have happened but I can’t actually remember them happening, and am thankful for that. I can’t imagine living with such a condition.

    It’s interesting that the only people with this condition they’ve discovered so far are in the U.S. but maybe they haven’t looked elsewhere yet.

  2. #2 Meiguoren
    May 29, 2008

    Excuse the ignorance, but how do we know this is for real?

  3. #3 Mo
    May 29, 2008

    Many of the details of events that occurred on a particluar day have been documented, e.g. in news reports, so the accuracy of the memories can be verified.