AJ: Profile of a Woman With Superior Memory

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In many ways, 40-year-old AJ appears to be an everyday woman. She is married, employed, and enjoys spending time with friends. AJ has one characteristic, however, that makes her truly unique--her memory is practically flawless. AJ (a pseudonym used to protect her anonymity) is able to recall dates and events from her past with incredible accuracy. Curious as to why she possesses this very rare ability, AJ sought answers from neurobiologists at the University of California-Irvine. These scientists have since performed studies on AJ and the few others like her who have superior memory skills.

AJ's Incredible Mind

Best brain pillAJ, a private person, does not grant many interviews about her life. With cooperation from one of the scientists analyzing her condition, Dr. James McGaugh, she did agree to answer some questions posed to her by curious readers of ABCNEWS.com. According to AJ, her earliest memory is from around the time when she was one-and-a-half years of age: she was awakened in her crib by her uncle's dog. Though one would assume that a woman with very sharp memory function must have been a top scholar, AJ insists that this is not the case. She didn't much care for school and had little interest in her studies, which she found dull.

When AJ demonstrates a particular interest in an event or circumstance from her past, she is able to recall it with amazing clarity. Her fondness for remembering certain dates was put to the test when the researchers at the University of California-Irvine asked her to list all of the dates that Easter fell on from 1980 until 2003. She complied, and also added details of how she personally observed those days. Her answers were nearly perfect when she first took the test, and were completely accurate when she was spontaneously re-tested two years later. AJ's husband is fascinated and proud where her ability is concerned. When they first met, he would give her the birth dates of his relatives, and she would respond with the day of the week when the births occurred. Her friends also enjoy witnessing AJ's superior memory in action.

AJ's Memory Skills in Daily Life

As a company administrator, AJ does need to write important details down so she won't forget them--the same applies to when she goes shopping. In that respect, she is very similar to the average person. AJ also faces some minor frustrations due to her brain power: she sometimes wishes she could forget certain unpleasant details. Overall, even with her extraordinary brain, she lives a very normal life.