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Spring 2020 – Intro Psych – Term Paper – Guidelines
Introduction to Psychology: Term Paper Guideline
Hyperthymesia or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory
Due Date For Paper (Cover Page, 10+ text pages & Reference List Page): Tuesday, 12 May 2020
PAPER FORMAT: Use APA style; see the APA style folder on
NYU Classes and the style guide for the Parker et al summary
assignment. Cite sources of information (usually journal articles
but other sources can be used if relevant and appropriate). Make a
reference list of the sources you cite – you must have minimum of
five APA style references in your reference list.
Part III. Finding Other People with HSAM
Parker et al (2006) research motivated other researchers
to find people with HSAM and a number of research papers were
subsequently published that provided more information about the
people who had HSAM. Interestingly, these people differed in a
variety of ways – cite and summarize some of this research,
showing how these people differed. The CBS news program “60
Paper Topic: Hyperthymesia or Highly Superior
Minutes” had a story about one such group that the McGaugh
research group had studied. The actress Marilu Henner was one
Autobiographical Memory
of these people; see:
Paper Structure:

Part IV. The Opposite End of the Spectrum: Severely
Part I. Introduction and background: Normal and
Deficient Autobiographical Memory (SDAM)
Exceptional Memories
It probably should not come as surprise that some people
Murdock (1985) provides a brief review of study of
have extremely bad autobiographical memory and the question
human memory and though Ebbinghaus was the first person to
experimentally study memory, philosophers and orators have used now arises how bad is their memory and do they have other
memory or cognitive problems. The research by Palombo et al
memory techniques (i.e., mnemonics) to increase their ability to
(2018) helps to differentiate people with HSAM from people with
remember information. People with high levels of ability to use
SDAM – summarize how they differ and how they are similar.
mnemonics – they are called mnemonists – have been known
since the ancient Greeks and have even been studied since the late Cite other research that provides info on SDAM.
Part V. Can You Have HSAM?
19th century (Brown & Deffenbacher, 1975). A new type of
Though people with HSAM say that they don’t use
superior memory has recently been discovered called
mnemonic techniques to remember their past, recent research has
Hyperthemesia or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory
shown that people can develop exceptional memory skills through
(HSAM) which does not appear to depend on the use of
mnemonics (Parker, Cahill, & McGaugh, 2006). This paper will training. A key difference between people with HSAM and
mnemonists is that most people with HSAM are limited to having
review HSAM and some recent developments in its study. Put
exceptional memories only about personal experiences while
this in your words and provide additional details as you see fit.
mnemonists can apply their skills to almost any information
Murdock, B. B. (1985). The contributions of Hermann
(though some appear to be limited, such as being able to
Ebbinghaus. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning,
remember long lists of digits). Summarize some of the examples
Memory, and Cognition, 11(3), 469-471.
of these contemporary mnemonists such as Joshua Foer who went
Brown, E., & Deffenbacher, K. (1975). Forgotten mnemonists.
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 11(4), 342-349. on to become a champion in the memory competitions. What
implications might this have for students especially in college.
Part II. The Case of “AJ” or Jill Price
New York Times-Foer (2011-02-14) NY)-Secrets of a MindParker, Cahill, and McGaugh (2006) provide a case
study of the person they identify as “AJ”, the first person who
New York Times-Foer-Book Review-Moonwalking with Einstein
claimed to have HSAM. Parker et al (2006) set-up a testing

USA Memory Championship©

protocol to determine if she actually had an exceptional
Part VI. Conclusions
autobiographical memory as well as whether she had any other
What conclusions can you draw about HSAM, SDAM,
exceptional memory or cognitive abilities. Identify how her
and the general ability to use mnemonics to develop an
HSAM was established and how did she perform on other
exceptional memory
measures (e.g., her intelligence level). This research helped to
Part VII. References
establish the existence of HSAM but because it is a case study it
Provide an APA style list of References for the sources
does not tell us what other people with HSAM are like.
you have cited in your paper.
After the Parker et al (2006) paper was published “AJ”
revealed that she was Jill Price and had a book about her life
Remember: You can also locate new sources through
published. She appeared on the ABC program “20/20” and here
is a link to that episode:

Spring 2020 – Intro Psych – Term Paper – Guidelines
Make sure that you use a cover sheet with the following layout for your paper. Below is how your cover
page should look.
Your Name-Hyperthymesia- Page1
Hyperthymesia or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory
Your Name
New York University
Introduction to Psychology-Spring 2020

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