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All Things Remembered

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Imagine possessing the ability to recall the most trifling events, details, and dates of your life with near perfect accuracy. Let's say, for example, you could remember that June 15th, 1992 fell on a Monday, and you ate a hamburger with extra cheese and onions for dinner as you watched a rerun of Seinfeld. For Brad Williams, this isn't a speculative what if, but rather a feat of which he has always been capable.

There have been a number of other documented memory marvels in the past. These people could memorize random letters or numbers with ease, or recall book passages and short stories word for word. Williams is different. He doesn't dredge useless information to the surface, but rather information relevant to his past. Once corroborated with scrapbooks and diaries, his memory has proven to be nearly flawless.

"I've always been this way," he said. In fact, as a child, he thought everyone possessed the same ability. Although the phenomenon has always been a source of entertainment to his family, one expert believes Williams may be one of the best memories in the world. The doctor is presently studying Williams in the hopes of achieving a better understanding of how memory functions.

Another woman has also been found with an almost identical talent, and has joined the same study. She calls her ability a burden and not a gift, though. Whenever she hears a date, a flash of memories run through her mind. It's nonstop and exhausting.

Both Williams and the woman seem to remember better the information they find of interest. This proves an essential element in their abilities, and some researchers have concluded that many others may similarly be capable of the same skills. Since the study began, a third individual has been discovered with similar promise.


Preview some of the lesson material:

Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. I have an excellent memory.
  2. I would want to remember every detail of my life.
  3. Names, dates, and details are always very important to remember.
  4. The brain and how it works will never be completely understood.
  5. Someday everyone will have great memories and will be able to remember all kinds of information.

Questions: Answer the questions to check comprehension.

  1. What is Brad Williams's ability?
  2. How is his ability different than other, similar cases?
  3. What does his family think?
  4. How does the woman with a similar ability feel?
  5. What do some researchers believe of the ability?

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Would you want to have a better memory? Why/not?
  2. What kind of memory improving techniques do you know?
  3. How likely is it that everyone will be the same as Brad Williams one day? Please explain your answer.
  4. What is your clearest memory from at least ten years ago? Please explain.
  5. When people remember the same event, some details are often different. Has this happened to you?

Google Search: Type "Internet addiction" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.


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