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All Things Remembered

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Imagine that you possessed the ability to recall small, unimportant events, details, and dates from your life with almost perfect accuracy. Let's say, for example, you could remember than June 15th, 1992 was a Monday, and you ate a hamburger with extra cheese and onions for dinner while you watched a rerun of Seinfeld on TV. For Brad Williams, this isn't a what if. It's a feat of which he has always been capable.

There have been other people with similar abilities. However, they only could memorize random letters or numbers with ease, or maybe remember book passages and short stories word for word. Williams is different. He doesn't remember meaningless facts or figures, but information directly from his past. What's more, his memory has proved almost flawless.

"I've always been this way," he said. In fact, as a child, he thought everyone had the same ability. To his family, the phenomenon has always just been amusing. But one expert believes that Williams may have one of the best memories in the world. The doctor is studying Williams because he hopes to better understand how memory works.

Another woman has also been found with an almost identical talent, and has joined the same study. She calls her ability a burden, though. Whenever she hears a date, a flood of memories flows through her mind. It's nonstop and exhausting.

Both Williams and the woman remember information that they find interesting. Because this is an essential part of their abilities, some researchers have concluded that many others may be capable of the same skills. Since the study began, a third person has been discovered with similar potential.


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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