One memory wiz in this week’s 60 Minutes story “Memory Wizards” had a surprise for correspondent Lesley Stahl: He recalled a moment in HER life that happened more than 30 years ago-- and he remembered it as well (or better) than she did.
Jerrard Heard is one of the few people in the world found to have a rare memory condition called HSAM: Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. As Lesley Stahl and 60 Minutes producer Shari Finkelstein reported on the broadcast this week, people with HSAM are capable of remembering almost every day of their lives in extreme detail.
“They experience their past with far greater intensity and vividness,” says Stahl. When someone with HSAM recalls a calendar date from the past, Stahl says “they get the day of the week, and then they start filling in what they did and what they felt, what their clothes felt like on their skin-- they actually go back and relive the moment.”
Odd moments can arise in a conversation with a memory wiz, and that’s exactly what happened to Stahl during her interview with Jerrard Heard.Heard was describing his childhood memories when he surprised Stahl with this: “There's a couple of things that I remember distinctly that involve you.”
“ME?” Lesley said.
Stahl tells the story, and discusses her remarkable “Memory Wizards” report, with 60 Minutes Overtime’s Ann Silvio in the video player above.