Photographic memory

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Photographic memory

Post by tony h » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:47 pm

Just wondering what a photographic memory was called before the invention of photography.
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I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: Photographic memory

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:35 pm

A photographic memory can also be referred to as an eidetic memory.

However, according to the Online Etymological Dictionary, the word 'eidetic' was coined in 1924, almost a century after photography was invented:
eidetic (adj.)
"pertaining to the faculty of projecting images," 1924, from German eidetisch, coined by German psychologist Erich Jaensch, from Greek eidetikos "pertaining to images," also "pertaining to knowledge," from eidesis "knowledge," from eidos "form, shape" (see -oid).
I wonder if the concept of what we call a photographic/eidetic memory actually existed before the invention of photography.
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Re: Photographic memory

Post by tony h » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:37 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:35 pm
I wonder if the concept of what we call a photographic/eidetic memory actually existed before the invention of photography.
I think you have encapsulated the puzzle implicit in my question. I don't remember coming across a description of anyone that would suggest a photographic memory in writings before photography became commonplace.


It is an intriguing chicken-and-egg question as to what extent the availability of words give birth to concepts or vice versa.
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