A Californian woman, Jill Price was not known to the world until when she claims to have an exceptional memory. She has an outstanding ability to recall almost every detail of the past since childhood. AJ was an ordinary individual born in a normal delivery. She was born in 1965 to a Jewish family; her mother was the then assistant in the medical office while her father a businessman. Her parents never knew AJ’s cognitive ability because she has always been an ordinary student in her school. AJ describes that few other family members owns a fairly good memory but they are nothing like her own. AJ got married when she was 37.
How AJ’s Memory Developed?
One of the earliest memories AJ possesses is when she was in a crib and was hardly 2 years of age. Just when she was asleep her nearby uncle’s dog woke her up and she got frightened. She also remembers her brother’s birth and the conditions under which his birth took place. AJ clarifies that her memory is full and complete embracing all kinds of smallest events. In a nutshell all the (remembering episodes) are detailed.
However, her memory took a sharp turn when the family shifted from east coast to live in the west. She says that she was not happy with the move. This shift had left her in a state of shock and she had to gather new memories from the scratch, prepare a list of new friends. She begins to recall her past in the west whist looking at the pictures. However, her memories became much clearer after the move. When Jill was 10 she began keeping a diary but she didn’t realize (her exceptional memory) then. It was finally in 1978 when she was 12 years old she became fully cognizant of her detailed memory. However, her memory was not fully developed at this stage and she could recall many different events (ages 8 to 13 years) but not all. In order to recollect her entire memory, she has to spend a considerable amount of time. In the coming years, AJ beginning to recall her past memories and now she could evoke precise dates and events with ease. AJ’s memory became fully developed in 1980 when she was only 14. She says “give me the day and I see it. I go back to the day I just see the day and what I was doing.” According to AJ, her family came to know her ability when she was 20 years old.
Diaries of AJ
Jill Price began keeping her day-to-day diary while she was only 10 and she continuously recorded actions of almost every day. Seldom does she record events inch by inch and often does she keep them scheduling with calendars. Some of AJ’s entries were particularly not-readable because of their tiny sizes even it was hard for AJ to read them; nonetheless, few of them rather more readable though they did not contain as much details. AJ explained that she was “obsessed with writing things down” because had she not written those things on diary, they would remain in her mind forever. Indeed things had become fairly easy for AJ as she wrote them down. She never bothered to review these diaries in fact they were only used to verify her recollections.
While AJ has got an exceptional memory it might seem hard to believe that she never excelled in school in fact she was an ordinary student. She always likes to remember things as if she found solace in this activity. AJ was an average student with an average mind. She never considered herself a genius and she said that she had to work very hard to get A grades. AJ never liked subjects like History, Science, Arithmetic, and foreign languages or any subject which involves too many dates to remember. She got D’s in geometry. AJ liked Algebra and she got A in it with ease. According to AJ, she was taught by a tutor in second grade as she had great difficulty to memorize facts. Yet, AJ became Graduate in social science at the age of.
AJ employed in an entertainment field and she worked there for almost a year. She was also employed in a law office where she worked as an assistant and her memory (to recall events) helped her a lot. Before getting married she worked as an executive assistant for six years. She likes to be a housewife and never likes to be a working woman. Her ultimate aim is to look after her children and husband.
Medical and Psychological History
AJ says that she had severe headaches since childhood to her thirties. She had suffered from migraines and she had to take 5 ibuprofen tablets each day. She had migraines as much as 5 times a year but as she reached the age of 37, it only bothered her once a year. AJ did not have a healthy childhood since she suffered from ear and throat infections while she was only 5. Moreover, AJ had a tonsillectomy surgery at age four with two subsequent facial surgeries at age sixteen (when she met an accident). AJ also hit her head at the age of eight but fortunately there was no serious injury. She also had a period of depression from ages 25 to 27 and often had counseling for that. There was a time when she had sleep problems (insomnia) but at present she never had one in seven years.
She is also reported to have several phobias but none such phobias affected her memory. She underwent bird phobia precisely because she was hit on her head by a pigeon on July 16, 1988. AJ’s other phobias include rats, particular foods and smells, and bird droppings. She says that she gets disturbed whenever someone changes the settings of her room; at the age of five show would ‘throw a fit’ if anyone tries to change the settings of her bedroom. It shows how much she was attached not only to her family but to her little things. Apart from that, she yells or screams when her family members leaves her alone. This explains why she lived most of her life with her parents even after getting married. Although her husband attempts to move outside the country but after a short while they had to return to AJ’s home. She went through the biggest shock when her parents decided to sell their house because she was never ready to see her house go where she spent her entire childhood. All these petty reactions explains her history of anxiety. AJ is an expressive individual and she likes to meet people. She is also interested in T.V. programs.
All throughout the investigation, AJ proved to be very cooperative. When asked about her second grade teacher, she described the entire physical appearance, his name, and every tits and bits about the teacher. She has the ability to recollect past events within no time. It is almost impossible for an ordinary individual to recall events within seconds. However, she simply says ‘she doesn’t know the answer’ when she does not know.
While AJ responded well to her doctors’ questions, she never liked the fact of being questioned. Besides, she also disliked the neuropsyhological tests.
AJ’s Autobiographical Memory
AJ’s memory to recall autobiographical events is remarkable and she always enjoyed remembering these events. According to AJ, all these autobiographical events are automatic and they never bother her to consciously recall them. She feels a lot more comfortable while describing her autobiographical memory. Whenever she was inquired about her own incidents, she immediately recollected those events told the doctors as to what she was doing on which day.