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Visual Memory

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My son just turned 4 on October 06. He seems to be highly intelligent with a phenomenal memory. On the intellectual part, he readily grasps ideas and concepts. By age 2 he had about a 300 word vocabulary. Although he loves to play with other children, he will often spend an equal amount of time engaging an adult on just about any topic, even while children are readily available. It's almost as if he gets bored around kids his own age. At 3 and 1/2, he took a test provided by the doctors office for 5 year olds and passed.

I'd like to find some other, maybe more in depth test to assess his IQ. Do you have any suggestions? Memory - he has long been able to recall details from incidences 6 months a year prior, small details, i.e. what somebody was wearing, not only that there were deer at the zoo but how many. He remembers details that weren't even pointed out to him. Here's the kicker. A few months ago, I happened across one of his receiving blankets. When I asked him what it was he told me it was from the hospital. I went on to ask him "What else do you remember?" He recalled about 8 things. In all fairness, he did have a procedure at about a year old that could have 'fit' parts of his recollection, but there were 3 things that were specific to the day he was born. He has shown to a remarkable memory but is it really possible he could remember his own birth?

A: For your first question, you may want to try the Standford-Binet which works from age 30 months onward, but apparently most effective with children of early school age of between 5 to 11 years. You may also want to wait till he is 5.

There are various studies indicating strong evidence that recognition memory can be reliably demonstrated from birth, however, not every child may remember. As it is, learning and memory are interlocked; learning is dependent on memory, and learning is the evidence of memory. Therefore, with a phenomenal memory, your son will be able to grasp ideas and concepts well ahead of his peers.

Traditionally, early memory has been thought to be demonstrated only at about age three because few people have conscious recall of events before that time. However, an accumulating volume of research in the past years have demonstrates that memory exist in the first years of life and in the prenatal period as well. Therefore, it is possible for your son, as for some other children to spontaneously recall birth events much earlier but expression of these memories is usually delayed until they are able talk. This is a clear demonstration that early memory (at the moment of birth) and learning are possible, and in fact, real.


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