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Weird memory? General ASD feature or is it just me?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Canismajoris, Oct 15, 2019.

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  1. Canismajoris

    Canismajoris Hypergiant

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    My wife told me today that she wonders what I actually remember from our past 8 years. This is because I forget daily and mundane things very fast, but remember a lot of weird info.

    I mean, I can read a book in a day or two and give a lecture about it next week, but it is very hard for me to remember what happened last week, not to mention last year.

    I think I remember it all as well as needed, but she feels kind of worried or confused.

    I also have hard time remembering people's names and I rarely recognize any celebrities for example - but then again I can remember images vividly from random situations years and years. Everything that I see I can remember pretty well.. Experiences, not that well I guess. I remember more like how something felt.

    I cannot comment to her anything else but that this is how I have always been...

    Is this common for ASD people or is it just my memory that is being weird?
     
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  2. Questella

    Questella Peace, Love and all that good stuff

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    I like to take lots of pictures for these reasons.

    I used to journal but people wouldn't leave it alone.
     
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  3. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    I can remember things that happened 65 years ago, but have very bad short term memory. However, my short term memory has been like this for 3 or 4 years and seems to be getting worse. Five years ago my short term memory was just fine. This leads me to believe that my memory loss is age related, not ASD related.
     
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  4. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Thought l was reading some people on the spectrum do have memory issues. So l try to stay understanding with myself.
     
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  5. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My memory sounds a lot like yours, although I have additional gaps or 'dream-like' sequences due to dissociation/PTSD or so I've been told, so it's difficult to say which parts are due to what.
     
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  6. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have noticed quite big differences in people's memory functions both NT and ASD. NTs also can experience good memory in some things and terrible memory in others. So I am not quick to ascribe it to ASD, or to it alone.
     
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  7. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    I often say that I have a memory like a cheese grater.

    I can forget things that I am, in fact, in the middle of doing. It is... strange. As such I blank out and get confused easily. And often.

    Yet some things, I will remember perfectly. Others, I will have a hard time recalling, or the memory will be outright broken and incorrect. I am known to remember things that did not, in fact, happen.

    All annoying.
     
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  8. Jimbo

    Jimbo Well-Known Member

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    My memory is pretty similar, except remembering what I read. I also can't remember names or celebrities. Of course my attention span watching movies is nonexistant. There may be one movie I have watched all the way through in 50 years. I remember weird situations too that normal people probably wouldn't.
     
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  9. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    Same here, I have zero patience for movies. Takes too long, and I'm not actually DOING anything.
     
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  10. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I have a fairly selective memory in that I will easily remember things I pay atttention to whcih interest me, but if something has no interest for me, then I'm likely to forget. What other people find strange is that I won't remember something that they think is important (because it's important for them), but will emember something that they consider to be trivial but which is interesting to me.
     
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  11. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I remember several times my mom would ask if I knew why she hadn't been able to reach my sister by phone. I'd think about it and answer, "Well, she did say something about going somewhere sometime." No I never remembered to keep track of others. I don't know celebrity names (well, I've learned a few - I know Al Pacino and Tim Allen). I won't remember why I walked into the kitchen, but I'll go ahead and get me something to drink while I'm in there.
    I'm getting worse at trying to remember everyday words (relate that to age).
    But what I DO relate to autism is the detailed and vivid memories of past events that affected me, word to word conversations and how I felt and where we were sitting, etc. It seems like once it's in my memory box it never leaves. And it can be weird little things that don't matter, but it must have had some degree of effect on me - good or bad. I remember very vividly a lot of things my dad said when I was young. Like standing in the kitchen with his work pants and plaid shirt answering, "Yes, you can have your own opinion as long as they agree with mine." He was serious folks and those were his exact words.
     
  12. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This is me. I have an almost eidetic memory for certain interactions and conversations - I don't fully understand why this is, but I strongly suspect, after years of experience, that there's some sort of little switch that gets flicked in my brain when a situation, person, etc. is "more important" - be it a red flag I'm subconsciously picking up on, or something or someone I really care about, or both. In the case of it being something/one I care about, it's obvious why I would pay more attention, but the subconscious "red flag" interactions are harder to figure out. Why was it so notable when person A told me how gullible person B was that I remember that he was wearing a blue shirt when he told this to me? What was so important about being told that A and B talk to each other twice a day on the phone, in the morning and in the evening, that I remember that we were turning right into the Costco parking lot when they told me this? Both of those interactions turned out to be important - but I didn't realize it at the time.

    It's almost like my brain has a subconscious "we need to be aware of this, bookmark it for later" function.

    When it comes to things that aren't particularly noteworthy, day to day stuff like what I ate for lunch, names, phone numbers, stuff I need to buy at the grocery store...my memory is a sieve.
     
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  13. grommet

    grommet Well-Known Member

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    I am the same way. I think it is how our brains work. When I was 8 years old we moved into a new house and my brothers were pouring something from a box into a bucket of warm water so they could wash the floors. The box was white with black writing that said TSP Trisodium Phosphate. I have never forgotten it and I remember other acronyms or engineering measurements but I forget very important ordinary information and experiences. I have been accused of doing it purposely and made fun of. It is not my choice. It is quite frustrating and disabling actually. It affects my daily life skills. I sometimes need six reminders of an appointment, email, onscreen reminder, alarm on my watch, a Post-It note on the wall and more and I can still have no idea that afternoon I have an appointment even though I spent the morning seeing and reading the reminders and understanding what they meant.
     
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  14. Uncertainty

    Uncertainty New Member

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    Three things I've read about autism come to mind - difficulties with episodic memory, alexithymia, and a certain associated cognitive tendency.

    Episodic memory refers to memories of events from one's own perspective. Research shows autism hinders this and the broader area of autobiographical memory (which, in addition to memories of specific events, includes memories of things that are simply true of one's self, such as one's height or personal preferences). A theory I often hear attributes these difficulties to alexithymia, a difficulty in recognizing and communicating one's feelings and thoughts.

    Going further, I've read that alexithymia is associated with difficulties finding the right words in general (rather than just when it comes to describing what's going in one's head). That difficulty might even further generalize to "semes," anything used to refer to something else, including a word, a name, or a person's face.

    It also sounds like you remember things based on physical - especially visual - sensations rather than what they collectively represent. This brings to mind the "local processing bias" theory of autism. The theory has it that individuals with autism are disinclined from (but not necessarily incapable of) looking at things in terms of the "big picture" and instead naturally give more weight to specific, immediate sensations such as sound or sight. This is sometimes described as processing things from the bottom up rather than from the top down, and it might also tie into the difficulty you mentioned with remembering names and recognizing celebrities.
     
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