British university research team discovers first person in UK
with a rare and puzzling memory power
Last updated on 7/6/2016 Print this page
24 September 2012
Professor Giuliana Mazzoni from the Department of
Psychology at the University of Hull has been researching a
remarkable kind of memory that scientists did not believe that
humans could possess.
“Superior Autobiographical Memory” is newly
discovered phenomenon. People with this ability appear able
to remember most days of their past in great detail. When
given a date they are usually able to recall precisely what they
did that day, who they were with and even details of conversations,
programmes they saw on television or what they ate for their
lunch. Some of these individuals claim to be able to remember
every day of their life since childhood.
The phenomenon was first described by a
memory research group in California a few years ago. A
handful of Americans have been identified with this very rare skill
but no cases had been reported in the UK until now.
A 20 year old Cardiff born university
student called Aurélien is the first person in Britain to come
forward claiming to possess this ability. He features in a Channel
4 documentary to be screened on Tuesday 25th September
at 9pm [watch
Aurelien claims to be unaware of how he is
able to remember the days of his life with such precision. He said:
“It’s like someone saying to you what’s your name. You just
know that it’s your name, it’s just something that comes straight
He has lived with this ability all his life
but only recently realised how rare it was. He admitted:
“I’ve never met anyone who can do what I do”.
Scientists have not been able to explain
this mysterious ability. Professor Mazzoni is trying to learn
more about what enables it and whether it is something that we
might all be capable of.
She said: “It is these exceptional
cases that give the first clue to something that might change the
way we think about how personal memory works, so it is really an
Professor Mazzoni believes that there may be
other people in the country who also have this ability. She
would like anyone who might be able to help her with her research
to contact her at the University of Hull.