Marilu Henner and her amazing memory

Marilu Henner – also sometimes written as Mary Lou Henner –  most famous for her role as Elaine Nardo in the classic sitcom Taxi, last night appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes to document her incredible memory.

Henner, born Mary Lucy Denise Pudlowski on April 6th, 1952, is gifted with a rare ability called superior autobiographical memory. Her superior memory allows her to remember every day of her life as if it was yesterday, and often with people who have this trait they can recall memories from their earliest days.

Superior autobiographical memory is such a rare condition that only six people are known to have it, Marilu Henner being one of them.

The condition goes by a few names and is also referred to as Hyperthymesia, Piking or Hyperthymestic Syndrome. A study was conducted on the first person found to have super memory ability and the results were published in 2008.

For the first time ever five of the six were brought together by 60 Minutes, and during the show they discussed their experiences and feelings, the positives and the drawbacks of having such vivid memories.

One thing they all agree on is how surprising it is that so many people (family and friends) forget so many things.

Doctors were also brought in on the show to explain possible causes for the trait and they reported that MRI scans have shown people with Hyperthymesia have an enlarged temporal lobe, and their caudate nucleus is also oversized.

The caudate nucleus lies deep within the brain’s core. Doctors have discovered a connection between its over sizing and obsessive compulsive disorders in the subject. Experts are still unclear as to whether the increased size is due to memory exercise or if the subjects are born that way.

Hyperthymesia is different to photographic or eidetic memory, a condition where the subject is able to study an image for a short time then recall it in almost perfect detail for a while afterwards.

Please share your thoughts on Marilu Henner’s amazing memory by leaving a comment.

Other amazing individuals include Clayton Treska, Lance Armstrong, Josiah Viera and Shalane Flanagan.

images: turanfm.com, nature.com

16 thoughts on “Marilu Henner and her amazing memory

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  5. I believe she has a good memory but think she is faking it to a point, she was talking really fast on a news interview and just had the jestures of somoene who is not being completely honest!

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  12. I have a friend that was tested by cal tech and has Hyperthymesia. I have been around him for years and these type of people ARE NOT fakes. I go back and test his answers and he is always correct.

    He can tell you the day of week and weather for any random date.

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  14. It was a rare experience to read about others having the same characteristic, that I have. I have had an unbelievably accurate memory, down to the floorplan of my first apartment (we moved out when I was 4, and I’m 36). Details come so clearly to me, I have a hard time understanding how anyone can forget anything. Nice to know that I’m just odd. There are people like me out there…..Yay!

  15. It was a rare experience to read about others having the same characteristic, that I have. I have had an unbelievably accurate memory, down to the floorplan of my first apartment (we moved out when I was 4, and I’m 36). Details come so clearly to me, I have a hard time understanding how anyone can forget anything. Nice to know that I’m just odd. There are people like me out there…..Yay!

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