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Perfect Eyesight but poor memory?
#1
Hi everyone, does anyone know of a person who has perfect sight, but yet rather poor memory? This somehow contradicts what Dr Bates mentioned in his book.

I know of such a person. Surprised me. Personally I find I can remember and analyse things better when eyesight improves. Comments most welcomed. Big Grin
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#2
It does not contradict with Dr. Bates book. When a person can't remember something, his vision becomes somewhat imperfect instantly (though he may simply not notice it), and the rest of time, when his vision is perfect, his memory is also perfect (but again, he is not thinking about it and not noticing it). Memory and imagination are used continuously in vision process, which is mental in its bigger part.

Dr. Bates describes a girl who could see satellites of Jupiter with her naked eyes, but immediately became myopic when she was asked to solve a math problem. This temporary myopia was registered with retinoscope.
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#3
What do you mean by memory? Bates was mainly talking about visual memory, or another sensual memory. Remembering something conceptual or abstract like what you need to do tomorrow, or what someone's name is, is something else. That can improve too, and it has a lot to do with how well you use your mind, but it isn't so tightly tied to how good your vision is.

Dave
Site Administrator

"Half of our funny, heathen lives, we are bent double to gather things we have tossed away." - George Meredith
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#4
Dave is correct. Here are two things to think about:

TRUE / FALSE? = "When an image is blurred, it is harder for the mind to recognize, record, and recall the image."
TRUE / FALSE? = Bates mentioned that the girl who could see Jupiter's moons had such an extraordinary memory that paralleled Lord Macaulay's memory, in which she could recite the whole content of a book verbatim. "She learned more Latin in a few days without a teacher than her sister who had six diopters of myopia had been able to do in several years. She remembered five years afterward what she ate at a restaurant, she recalled the name of the waiter, the number of the building and the street in which it stood. She also remembered what she wore on this occasion and what everyone else in the party wore. The same was true of every other event which had awakened her interest in any way, and it was a favorite amusement in her family to ask her what the menu had been and what people had worn on particular occassions.
    When the sight of two persons is different it has been found that their memories differ in exactly the same degree. Two sisters, one of whom had only ordinary good vision, indicated by the formula 20/20, while the other had 20/10, found that the time it took them to learn eight verses of a poem varied in almost exactly the same ratio as their sight. The one whose vision was 20/10 learned eight verses of the poem in fifteen minutes, while the one whose vision was only 20/20 required thirty-one minutes to do the same thing. After palming, the one with ordinary vision learned eight more verses in twenty-one minutes, while the one with 20/10 was only able to reduce her time by two minutes, a variation clearly within the limits of error. In other words, the mind of the latter being already in a normal or nearly normal condition, she could not improve it appreciably by palming; while the former whose mind was under a strain was able to gain relaxation, and hence improve her memory, by this means.
    When the two eyes of the same person are different, a corresponding difference in the memory has been noted according to whether both eyes were open or the better eye closed. A patient with normal vision in the right eye and half-normal vision in the left when looking at the Snellen test card with both eyes open could remember a period for twenty seconds continuously, but could remember it only ten seconds when the better eye was closed. A patient with half-normal vision in the right eye and one-quarter normal in the left could remember a period for twelve seconds with both eyes open and only six seconds with better eye closed. A third patient with normal sight in the right eye and vision of one-tenth in the left could remember a period twelve seconds with both eyes open and only two seconds when the better eye was closed. In other words, if the right eye is better than the left the memory is better when the right eye is open than when only the left eye is open."

[snip]

"When one is not interested, in short, one's mind is not under control, and without mental control one can neither learn nor see."

Source: BEM, September 1919--Vol. I, No. 3.

I think that it's possible that the person with perfect eyesight you're talking about unconsciously produces an error of refraction and therefore is not normal sighted when not interested in something and may have poor memory in that regard? Maybe that person lacks interest in a great number of things?

Regarding the two sisters' learning abilities differing when they learned eight verses of the poem, I'm pretty sure it's more of an individual thing rather than proportional to everyone, despite what Bates said. He seems a little vague here. He mentions later on that when one is not interested, one can neither see nor learn; so I assume he understood it in the individual sense because if done proportionally in an individual sense, a person with 20/20 who is interested will learn faster than another person with 20/20 who is not interested. But if both have 20/20 and are equally interested, they will learn at a symmetrical rate... that's what Bates seems to be saying. However, this is not taking into account things like linguistics development, semantics development, and other reading skills / learned abilities needed to process and quickly assemble the information; but he seems correct in the respect that there is a relationship between learning, memory, and eyesight. The two sisters are from the same family, they may have been taught the same way - so their language skills might be similar.

In a later issue of BEM, Bates mentions differences between abstract and concrete memories: "A person can remember what his own name is without having a mental picture of each letter of the name. This is an example of what is known as an abstract memory. A concrete memory is a more perfect memory because one remembers a mental picture of the object with the eyes closed, as well or better than he can see it with the eyes open."

Source: BEM, February 1926--Vol. X, No. 8.

As Oleg states, even the girl who saw Jupiter's moons went temporarily myopic when asked to solve a math problem.

All this is true from a generalized perspective.
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#5
But in unusual cases like the one you pointed out, a few observations can be made regarding this:

1. Showing interest in something plays a large role in noticing and recalling information. If an individual has very selective attention, it is possible that he may have a good memory in few things but poor memory in several other things despite having a measured acuity of 20/20 or better. This would be one way of explaining why a certain few people, particularly adults, may see 20/20 and have poor memory over a wide range of things.

2. Bates said, "When one is not interested, in short, one's mind is not under control, and without mental control one can neither learn nor see." This might be typical of ADHD children who have less control over their mind. Despite their inability to pay attention to things that do not attract their interest, if they are doing something they really enjoy then they have no trouble paying attention.  Source: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/adhd.cfm">http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/adhd.cfm</a><!-- m --> -- It gives us something to think about regarding vision, despite daydreaming being a potential cause of vision problems.   

3. There might be some underlying physiological or psychological basis. Physiological-wise, there may be some unknown brain damage or autistic abilities causing problems with short-term or long-term recall abilities despite 20/20. I knew a friend at a very selective university I used to go to who had poor short-term memory recall - he couldn't remember what happened 10 minutes prior, in most cases; yet his long-term memory recall was as if written in stone. He could recite things verbatim, such as several long poems by JRR Tolkien when asked. He told me that the last time he had read the poems had been a few years prior.

Another thing physiological-wise, someone could have a stroke which causes memory loss and problems with short-term / long-term memory recall capabilities; it can cause short-term memory to be ok but long-term memory won't be ok, or vice-versa. On a psychological basis (emotion-wise), there are studies (with inconsistent results compared to other studies - either study could be correct) that there are people with multiple personalities who see better or worse when the personalities switch.  Source: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1997659&dopt=Abstract&nbsp;">http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/quer ... ract&nbsp;</a><!-- m --> ... in a psychological sense, showing interest is based on emotions about something.

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Such people would be more the exception than the rule - ROL, you said yourself that you were surprised to know of such a person. Do any of the 3 explanations even remotely sound like the person you know?
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#6
Kazekage Wrote:We can visualize a memory, but  we cannot store a visual memory. In other words we use our imagination to conjure up and convert an abstract memory into a visual one. This process takes place so fast that we do not notice it, rendering the illusion that we have remembered a visual memory.

Kazekage, this is exactly the WRONG understanding of visual memory, so typical for myopes. I used to err in the same way like you.

When you "render", i.e. construct mental image out of verbs, it's NOT visual memory. The visual memory is just what it is called - a visual impression stored in memory. There is a tremendous difference. When you visual memory is perfect, you can recall juicy pictures with lots of visual details and colors instantly and feel like seeing it, but not right beneath your eyes, but somewhere on another "mental" screen. At the very moment it happens, the vision becomes perfect, and it can only happen when you are relaxed and you vision is perfect.

In contrast, when you construct the mental image, you strain even more and this is not visual memory at all.

P.S. If you have memory of smells, taste or sounds, you'd agree that it's also not "rendered" but remembered as is, as the impression of the sense. The same thing is visual memory.
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