Eidetic Imagery: Raising More Questions than Answers
Eidetic Imagery: Raising More Questions than Answers
Anna ArnaudoImagine being able to memorize an entire sheet of Russian vocabulary, a list of math equations, or the window arrangement on a large building just by observing it for a few seconds. These are the abilities associated with eidetic imagery, more commonly known as photographic memory. Eidetic imagery has been defined as "the ability to retain an accurate, detailed visual image of a complex scene or pattern... or see an image that is an exact copy of the original sensory experience" (1). People capable of eidetic memory, or eidetikers, are therefore able to recall vivid images within their mind and examine these images as one would examine a photograph. This ability has been particularly interesting to me because I am a visual person and my memories are in the form of images, but I do not have a photographic memory. In searching for the physical explanation behind eidetic imagery and its connection to my visual images, I found that there are more questions about this ability than answers- the largest question being whether or not it truly exists.
Eidetic imagery has been studied for over a century(2) and many studies have been done to test its validity. Individuals capable of superior memory were tested and many were found not to possess eidetic imagery. A study done by Degroot shows that some individuals are highly skilled at organizing information- not actually reproducing the images they see. In his study, chess players were asked to reconstruct certain arrangements of pieces on a chessboard after looking at the arrangement for a brief period of time. It was found that the performance level of an expert chess player would drop to that of a novice when the pieces were arranged in a way that would never actually occur in a game. The initially high performance level of the experts was not due to eidetic imagery; they were simply able to better organize and therefore remember the information because the arrangements could be associated with pre-existing knowledge of chess (7). Although some write off eidetic memory as the ability to organize vast amounts of information, others have found that this ability cannot be used to explain all the cases studied.
The most convincing and unique documentation of eidetic imagery was a case study done by Charles Stromeyer in 1970. The subject of their study, a woman named "Elizabeth," was able to write out poetry in a foreign language years after seeing the original text. She was also able to project her images onto a blank canvas or over the top of other images. Moving her eyes allowed her to scan the projected image, which remained entirely stationary. Her images would break apart instead of fading away slowly(3).
Although Elizabeth is an extreme case, a study done by L. R. Haber and R. N. Haber (1964) documented similar behavior in children with eidetic imagery. The subjects were exposed to a detailed picture placed on an easel for thirty seconds. When the picture was taken away, the children scanned the blank easel in order to describe the image. Their descriptions were given in the present tense, as if they were still looking at the image. From various studies, Haber and Haber found that it is vary rare; approximately 2-15% of elementary school age children are capable of eidetic imagery. There was no connection between gender and incidences of eidetic memory(6). The images lasted at least forty seconds and could persist for up to several minutes. They also had a wide range of accuracy; they could be highly detailed or fragmentary. Participants could voluntarily terminate these images by blinking or looking away. If not terminated, the eidetic images involuntarily faded in a similar manner (4).
Haber and Haber observed that the occurrence of eidetic imagery is lower in adults than children (6). Vygotsky proposed that eidetic imagery is an elementary mental function, meaning that it is innate. These elementary mental functions are then augmented and transformed into what he refers to as higher psychological functions. In the case of eidetic imagery, higher psychological function would constitute using organizational principles and vocabulary to aid memory instead of images (9). This idea of development leading away from the use of eidetic imagery is found in S. M. Kosslyn's attempt to explain the negative correlation between imagery and age. Kosslyn proposes that adults are capable of encoding information using words, but children are not capable of this because they do have not fully developed their verbal abilities (11). This theory suggests then that as young eidetikers grow up their abilities should decline or even become non-existent. There is not much evidence for or against this theory. It would be interesting to observe a group of children over the course of their lives to see if their ability to form eidetic imagery decreases. If their ability decreases, the question of why must be asked. Evidence from Haber indicates that naming interrupts eidetic imagery formation even in young eidetikers (12). If the ability does decrease with age, is their ability transformed as Vygotsky suggested or has it been interrupted by their new language capabilities?
Another set of questions is raised when comparing eidetic imagery with visual imagery. The characteristics outlined by Haber and Haber can be used to distinguish eidetic imagery from visual imagery. Eidetic images depend on exterior stimuli and are considered to be more detailed and longer lasting than visual images(5). Visual imagery allows an individual to visualize objects or create a mental picture without exterior stimuli. This practice is generally referred to as using "the mind's eye" (8). The relationship between eidetic imagery and visual imagery is also not well understood. The physiological underpinnings of both eidetic imagery and visual imagery are also not well understood. Hypotheses range from saying that eidetic imagery is a completely separate internal physical process from visual imagery to saying that eidetic imagery is just a more severe, rare form of visual imagery (5). I would find it interesting to see if young eidetikers develop into visual people like me or if they develop into both visual and auditory people. This could suggest that eidetic imagery is closely related to visual imagery.
It seems possible that visual imagery is a spectrum with non-eidetikers at one end and the extreme cases of eidetikers at the other end. A spectrum would be able to account for the diversity seen within the eidetikers. Elizabeth could be placed at the far end of the spectrum; the fact that she is an adult, has such a long span of memory and illustrates unique image decomposition all suggest that she is very rare eidetiker. If visual imagery and eidetic imagery are related, they should be controlled by similar portions of the brain. The question then becomes, are they located in the same area of the brain as other visual functions? Electronic imaging techniques have been able to show that functions like pattern recognition occur in localized portions of the brain (10). Perhaps further improvements in these techniques can be used to localize imagery formation.
Despite the numerous studies done to explore eidetic imagery, much is still unknown about this unique ability. Cases like Elizabeth and my own ability to visualize convince me that eidetic imagery is indeed possible. In reaching beyond this assertion, I found myself asking more questions after doing my research than before. The answers to these questions could provide fascinating information about the workings and the true abilities of the human brain. It already feels as if seeing people memorizing Russian vocabulary, a list of math equations or window arrangements on a large building does not seem like such a far stretch of the imagination anymore. Imagine the possibilities.
WWW Sources1) The Definition of Eidetic Imagery,
6) Imagery, An imagery lecture outline
7) What is the basis behind a photographic memory?, A discussion about the existence of photographic memory
8) Mental Images, An Introduction to Visual Imagery Theories
9) Vygotsky, A Summation the of Vygotsky's Work
12) Zen and Eidetic Imagery, Commentary on Eidetic Imagery
10/06/2005, from a Reader on the Web
This is about Anna Arnaudo's Eidetic Imagery: Raising More Questions than Answers. This is very well done, and i can relate to her. i can seem to remember odd details like what people are wearing and there eye color just by seeing them pass by. Or i can remember an area and only be there for a minute or two.
I am interested in people who have photographic memories By that I mean, the ability to recall information when it is needed. As a young student, before the end of highschool, I could memorize pages in a textbook. At test time, I could look up the information, in my mind, until I found the info I needed. I could turn pages until I came to area I required. I never thought this was unusual for I thought everyone had this ability. Now, I have discovered that my one son is the ability to read information once and recall it for a test. He too is able to flip pages in his mind until he find the information he seeks. When he studied chemistry, he always had the chart of elements, mentally, at his disposal. Plus, he is able to use these images to reason out problems. For example, he over heard a women saying that she took calcium and iron, together, per her doctor's instruction. By reviewing the physical structure and classification of each element, he came to the conclusion that if this women took both compounds together, these compounds would be less effective than if each were taken in a staggered sequence.
hi, i found on this page: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro00/web2/Arnaudo.html the following text: "She was also able to project her images onto a blank canvas or over the top of other images. Moving her eyes allowed her to scan the projected image, which remained entirely stationary. Her images would break apart instead of fading away slowly" what do you mean by "project her images" and "her images would break apart instead of fading away"? Nick Humphrey
Neat read. I have always made an (apparently inaccurate) separation between photographic and eidetic memory. I have always told people I have an eidetic memory, not a photographic one. Where I can't simply read something, and forever lock it away for recall, I am involuntarily able to recall the very smallest of details of events regardless of how long ago they may have occoured if I am offered the right "trigger". An easy for-instance: I can't remember my first line of any play I have ever been in, but if someone were to mention a line from the play, I am immediately able to recall all my lines IF that person can continue feeding me the line or so previous to mine. I once did a cold reading of a show I had not done for seven years, and was script-free on my first day. But as I sit here typing, I don't have anything but the fuzziest of recall of the details of the show. The same applies for activities, conversations and image memories. I couldn't draw the lincoln monument right now, but if someone I was with during my visit began discussing it, I could draw it down to the last detail, including how many people were present, and what they were wearing. Very strange stuff.
I read a few articles on subject pertaining to how people remember, image and associate and I highly disagree on most of them and the ones I don't have huge gaps. I highly doubt that I'm the only individual in the world that has the missing characteristics. When doing this study have any of you done studies on Eideticers with PTSD I haven't found one yet. I am 26 Yrs old and I am Female suffering from PTSD. I for years have been mistaking my method or curse have you, with photo graphic memory. I can unfortunately vividly remember things from when I was 3 yrs old in color (not fuzzy) the only way I can describe it is like watching twitchy movie clips (no I'm not full of it)I wish I was. there are also associations that can bring them back such as feelings smells tastes dejavus colors etc.... I can not be handed a news paper and remember the print all the time just words that stand out. Show me a picture and I will remember it(in full detail) years later if you tell me to or if I want to. I remember the color of the house I lived in when I was three, the color of my dads harley and what it looked like without never seeing a picture. I Lost my keys for a week once looked every where stopped looking over a weekend then In my sleep visioned, imaged whatever you wanna call it, that my toddler took themm off the coffee table when I dozed and put them in the coffee table drawer I jumped out of bed ran to the table and sure enough they were there why I did't picture it before I don't know I was under a lot of stress and when that occurs my head is not clear I would be interested to see what the reslts on some experiments on me would be. and can I some how get this under control
I am a volunteer in my granddaughter's grade school in the 4th and 5th grades. Over this school year I have given fluency tests to many of the 4th graders where they read unfamiliar passages against a clock. The WPM count is adjusted to reflect their mistakes. There is a set of male identical twins in the 4th grade (two different classrooms). This week I gave the latest fluency test to one of them. He glanced at the page and when told to, began reading as fast as he physically could get the words out. I noticed that he was spinning the page around like a pin wheel the entire time he was "reading." I am so intrigued by this phenominen (as are the teachers) because I (we) have never seen anything like this. The only way I could figure out that he could read 148 WPM was with no mistakes while turning the page was that he had a mental picture of it and was "reading" from that. Could this be eidetic memory? ... Jane Brunzie, 10 February 2006
In my experience there is your visual spatial memory and also your photographic memory (eidetic imagery). Similar in part and probably controlled by related parts of the brain yet different. In all my exploring on the net within the realm of memory, I have never seen anyone talk about Nikola Tesla, another facinating character in history. Here is a brief excerpt from something I read: "Nikola soon became aware that there were certain characteristics which set him apart from his fellow students, his family, and the world of ordinary beings. ...it was not just an accelerated mind that set him apart. He was conscious of certain phenomena before his eyes which other people could not see. He envisioned objects and hypothetical situations and day dreams with such reality and clarity that he was uncertain whether they did, or did not, exist. When these visions became so real, he confided his dilemma to his sister, who tried to help him distinguish the real from the imaginative." Book: Lightning in his hand. The life story of Nikola Tesla. By: Inez Hunt and Wanetta W. Draper. Date: 1964. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-66184. Pages: 20, 21. It's not a matter if you can or can't do this, it is a matter of finding the key to unlock it, the trigger that will give you access. There is not much of interest to me in all my searching, these are things I have already known but can now label with scientific words ... Anon, 30 March 2006
Some interesting stuff there - Somehow Ive built a 3D map of the world in my mind that I'm able to recall at will. A bit like GIS or sat nav, I need to have either seen a map or picture or video of the location or to have been there, but this only needs to have happened once before I can project the image onto paper and draw it, pretty much to scale. So far most of the UK (again dependent on which map Ive looked at or which place Ive been to, ive got stored in the mind both in map form and in 3D. I can view a 2D map and see it in 3D or even 4D (if changes have occurred through history). I thought all this was normal but it seems it isnt - its very useful in my work as a geologist as I'm able to recall at will the location of where a particular rock came from, the rocktype, structure, palaeoenvironment, how it formed, plus the 2D map and 3D views ... Nick, 31 May 2006
I just read your article about Eidetic memory.
I'm 21 of age, male from Denmark, and I believe that i have... to some degree... Eidetic memory, but I am not sure.
I read what when growing up, my skills in recording details should decrease, as i learn to verbalise better. I'm a perfectly normal young man, but i do have some small small speech-problems at times. Nothing you hear right away, but if im tired etc., it pops up. Hard to explain i guess.
If you are interested in talking in talking, my mail is: JonLNielsen@gmail.com.
Hope to hear from you ... Jon Nielsen, 5 June 2006
I am 44 years old female, and after being given weird looks all my life about my memory I did a search on the web to see what I had. For Me, I recall mini movie clips with audio and full color of the events that I see. Memories from my childhood start at age 3, I can recall the layout of the house, where the furniture was placed, etc.. and I even remember dreams I had as a small child. To this day, I have perfect recall of meetings with other people, the recall is the same whether it has been 5 minutes or 5 years. I do not recall every word that was spoken only mini clips like a preview of a movie. They are Vivid, full color and I can tell you what everyone is wearing what was said in verbatum, and where they were,etc..
Ocassionaly I get little blups of memory where I recall the event but it looks disorted to me. Can't quite describe this.. I have told several educators about this and they all just give me a weird look.. WHat is this? is it Bad? Do other disorders go with it? For the record I am now a professional photographer. My father was a artist and could draw from memory every detail in a room or place that he had been for only a few minutes ... Laura Vale, 18 June 2006
I am a fifteen-year-old(I say this only because it is apparently believed that eidetic imagery is more pronounced in the younger population, to my understanding at least) and upon first hearing of "photographic memory", or eidetic imagery, I thought that it sounded like that was the kind of memory that I possesed. However, after researching the topic, I am now not so sure that I do. It seems to me that I might have just an ordinary visual memory not to be confused with a photographic one. This being because of eidetic imagery being defined as an ability to project an image forth in one's mind and be able to scan it as though it was a photograph actually in view. I can recall things in pictures, such as when I take a vocabulary test I can picture the vocabulary sheet given to me beforehand to study from but not in the way as described. I cannot scan the picture as though it were in front of me, however, I can picture the parts of it that I need. I would describe it as me being able to picture a zoomed form of what I need to see instead of being able to scan it like I am reading. So, I was just wondering if that would be classified as an eidetic memory or just a visual memory ... Jeff, 3 August 2006
I wish to concur with your research findings that adult encoding of information using words ("naming")does interrupt eidetic formation. That's why its lower in adults than children. Formal education with its organizational principles and vocabulary interrupts it. I had active IE until I went to college at age 50. EI is not just photographic memory, its a dynamic process which forms images in the mind's eye in a meaningful way. It can actually put one in touch with one's unconscious thoughts. It is especially valuable to older people who have forgotten much of the verbal information emphasized in school. Memory becomes a matter of imagery once more, and it can bring with it the meaning of a lifetime ... Mary, 13 October 2006
A few days ago I was told that when I was a child, I had photographic memory and I used to be able to remember every little detail (even the most unimportant details) of what I see. I also remember those days,when I was closing my eyes and recalling images of what I saw. I could remember whole of the scenes I live; losing a toy , forgetting (forgiving) someone's bad behaviour, getting lost were impossible. May be that's why i could developed my drawing skill, by imitating what I see and that memory might have also helped me learn alphabet and reading easier.
When I look at the past I see that my efficient memory started to weaken after I started elementary school. Because whole class didn't have the same "ability" I had and since everything I do was faster than the people, I was forced to slow down. Then I started to get bored and started to play silently with pencils and eraser and draw little things at the back of the notebooks.
I used to forget what was told but never forget what was shown. When a teacher used to explain something only orally, I usually forgot some part of it. But remembering shapes, figures, photos, symbols, signs, drawings, maps, faces, texts were easy.
What i did with text seems interesting to me now. Because I used to spend so little time on "looking at" pages but spending lots of time to "remember". Maybe I was recording the image of the text, and read it then when I need to remember. I cannot read a poem loudly, fluenty or in its proper rythm because it is difficult for me. Memorizing a poem was easy but reading it from my memory was difficult.
Although I finished elementary shool with perfect grades, Mid-Education and High-Shool got worse because lots of information was given only or moslty orally. Especially language education was pain-giving.
Now, my memory is not that good, it's even worse than average for a 21 person. I tend to forget something easily. I can still remember images easier but not as proper as i was able to. Some say that I unintentionally killed my "ability" slowly, because my brain was having problems with audible and oral memory and tried to recover this by pushing visual memory to the background. It may be true although its underestimating human brain or "my brain".
I'm a design student at the university and my visual skill has the key importance to the success, I wish I was trained with children similar to me and I kept this "ability" ... Erdem Batirbek, 12 November 2006
Fascinating; I'm glad to have found your page on this subject. I've been trying to identify this type of recall which led me to your site. In my day life at work I'm a technical analyst and when there's a problem call - I find myself flipping through the different servers and then into web pages where authentication might be the problem (for example), then out to network connectivity. I can also remember conversations and the whole "scene" where the conversation took place (weather, clothes) - basically I can replay the conversation forward and backward. Though I can remember deadlines with relative accuracy, the good memory hasn't solved my procrastination problem ... Eric Wilkins, 23 January 2006
I am 53 yrs. old and have just realized that others' memories do not work like mine. I began suspecting it when my children did not learn the way I did. I was adopted when I was 15 mos. old by and American Serviceman and his French wife and spoke and sang in Japanese. I have memory of everything after my adoption but not before except for the Japanese songs and dances I performed. After adoption I was silent for 6 weeks and then suddenly began speaking in full sentences in English shocking my new parents. We were then stationed in Germany where I learned to speak fluently in German in order to play with the children. My mother, having grown up in Nazi occupied France also spoke German so we spoke German in the home, except to my dad. I also spoke some French since Mother still spoke it to me especially when angry. She also taught me the alphabet in French, German and English as well at to count in all three languages. Sometimes my sentences contained words from all three languages that only Mother could understand. All this before the age of 5. In school I could close my eyes and picture any page I wanted during testing. I also had the periodic table memorized in Chem. class. However, I have a learning disability that I only became aware was one when my son was diagnosed with it, in which we can not calculate numbers above a 5th grade level, but as long as I could do calculations on a slide rule higher mathematics was easy and fun for me. Postulates & theorums were just a kind of knowledge I didn't even have to think about so proofs were great fun. I have always read in my sleep much like others dream and rarely ever remember what I was reading, except when I began working as a paralegal I would wake up in the middle of the night with the sudden knowledge of a typographical error and in the morning go to work and fix it. Events in my life run through my mind like a movie, with exact word dialog. Whenever I lose something I also run "a film" from the last time I remember having it to the point in which it became lost and so find it. I don\'t go searching for things of my own. I am however very absent minded about putting things down automatically so have had to use this ability often. Fifteen yrs. ago I was diagnosed with what is called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME in the rest of the world. A brain MRI revealed unidentified bright spots and since that time my memory have suffered. The addition of medications for pain since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2000, and Xanax for Anxiety Disorder that developed from losing nearly all my independance is eroding my memory every year. This grieves me. An IQ test administered by a psychologist when I was 17 revealed a much above average IQ so people try to comfort my lost of "intelligence" with the fact that I can afford to lose some. There is humor in that. This is the first time I have researched any information about photographic memory because as I mentioned I didn't realize I thought differenty than others. I look forward to finding out ... Linda Lee Garrett, 24 February 2007
i currently know a 7 yr old musical sauvant who is an eiditiker. He can be shown a manuscript of music , he blinks at it and in his words, he is taking a aphotograph of the the music and then if you take the music away he can play it imminently. He can also recall it and play it again at a later date. He is not autistic (medically proven) just an extraordinary musical sauvant. He plays piano keyboard, drums, percussion. Can read all music and emmulate all music played and composes his own works also. He says he takes photographs of everything by blinking the image into his brain and not the other way around. Interesting. Perhaps this would be scientific proof that a photographic memory does exist ... Tracie Ross, 16 March 2007
I've had this all my life and I'm 43 now. Believe me it's not a gift. At any time I can pull up any image of anything I've ever seen but if my mind wanders or when I get tired the free association of images from my past is not a good thing. My personal experience with it is that the near death experience hightens it if you already had it. For me it's like having a constant camera going on so be careful what you point it at. Normally I'm a field sevice tech and the ability to overlay a 6 inch scale over what you just saw comes in handy without having to do anything but look at it. I knew pretty early that this wasn't normal and I've kept it secret so I wasn't looked at as some sort of abnormal human being. I've also been diagnosed as autistic because of it so that added to the concept of keeping it quiet. Ya a doctor telling me I shouldn't remember in full color detail seemed odd to me and kinda made me mad.After all it is my mind and as long as it works then they can stick to sticking other people. My daughter doesn't have it so add that to the data bank ... Dave, 4 April 2007
I ama professional pianist and I do this all by memory. Its said to have been a gift since early childhood and I don't read music at all. My question..,..,i'm in my 30's now and my memory is becoming even better, almost to the point of being frustrating. I see walk-on roles of people in movies and can tell you what shows they walked on or starred in in the 70's. I see a waitress in a restaurant (not even the one who waited on me) and I can tell you who the OTHER waitress was while shopping at the grocery store and seeing her in frozen foods. What's wrong with me? I can't seem to shut it off. I remember everything. I guess its better than the alternative. Is this the norm with musically gifted adults? ... Erinsue, 2 May 2007
I find this all very interesting. I do believe that I have a form of eidetic memory, however I will admit that it is limited. I can not do anything with pictures in the sense of remembering them, I can only manipulate them. For example if given 20 sets of cubes (however dodecahedron's would be a more intense example) with numbers on each side and colours, where I need to find out what a side should be or its location, I simply manipulate the object in my head as if it were 3D. The limitations of course are that I for some reason can become easily distracted and loop the image causing it to spin out of control. That is the extent of my visual abilities. Where I think I really am able to show my eidetic memory is in instruments. There aren't very many instruments I can not play. I can just watch a person play and then play the same thing more or less back again immediately. I am the best at this with piano where I can look from above and see all the fingers moving, other instruments such as the saxophone are harder because It involves me manipulating the pattern they have played into a horizontal plane so I can play it. I am only limited by the fact that some instruments are hard for me to play like flute. I simply can not produce the sounds necessary, however I can mimick the pattern they have played with my fingers. I am just wondering where I fit into all this ... Braden Staudacher, 26 May 2007
Re: the last comments written Jan, 2006..... I too experience all the same...I thought I was one with a photographic memory......certain scents, eg; my 2nd grade teachers purfum..I came across a woman in a supermarket and remembered the teacher, almost daily I experience all sorts of memories either from scents or sights......My 3 year old has been expressing such strong memories of places and memories.... Eg; We may go to a particuolar place once and a year later drive past and he recalls that we were there, why and what we did....I can retain certain information, i must understand the info full and I must be able to see the spelling in my mind in order to retain too....
Is this common? My closest friends say not. I have dreams that come to pass...very strange...is it stress? ... Molly, 8 August 2007
I am now an adult university student and during a course in psychology someone brought up the topic of Eidetic memory and that it was rare. This prompted me to look farther into the topic and I found your webpage.
Since I was very little I have been able to look at a scene and remember it with incredible accuracy, even many years later. This was fantastic during high school as if we had studied a subject on the board or if the material was in the text book, I could mentally go back to the classroom board in my mind and see the problems on the board. I could also flip thru the pages of a text book in my head till I found the corresponding problem. This meant that there was very very few subjects that I had to study for at all. A student who understood the material and studied would always come out ahead of me in marks, but I could easily maintain a 80% average in all classes without one minute of homework.
Interestingly enough this caused extreme problems with mathematics. If I had seen a problem/solution in a textbook or on the board, even with different numbers, I could do the ones on the exams, but if they rearranged the formula, even with the same numbers I wouldn't be able to do anything with the information.
Now I am 26 and halfway thru university. The ability isn't able to always capture what I want and sometimes it seems like I have too many pictures in my brain. For instance I can remember every registration plate number and make of car on my 40 minute drive to school. Memories like that usually last a few days at most then begin to fade or "corrupt" and peices start to go missing. Subjects that just require memorization are easy for me as I can just scan the entire page of data at once and hold it there for a test.
I do not feel that this ability is decreasing, but I do feel that sometimes it takes me a while to sort thru the pictures in my head until I find the one I want. The entire idea has always been interesting to me once I found out that not everyone could do it ... Ryan, 22 August 2007
Very interesting read. I'm just beginning my study on photographic memory. One of my sons seems to be quite gifted. He is very low in language and language processing, but math is second nature to him, fun, and stimulating. At age three, he could do 100 piece puzzles and amaze people. Two days ago, at age 9, he completed a very complex nine piece puzzle with over 95 billion possibilities in five minutes. And he can reproduce it instantly. No one else in our house could do it. Whenever he does puzzles, he knows what each piece individually looks like and where it will sit in the puzzle, regardless of the other pieces. It's quite fascinating really. This will be an interesting study ... Stephanie, 5 January 2008