Brain Food: Are you suffering from Interpol syndrome

You run into someone you know at the train station and he remembers every single little detail. 'You were wearing a Pucci blouse. It was early June, you were coming back from a meeting and had, I remember, a sore knee ...' and so on. Interpol Syndrome is the ability to recount the smallest minutiae from the past, and with total accuracy. For those who have it, it can seem like a gift. To those with someone who has it, it can border on compulsive disorder, as most details logged in one's head are not worth remembering. Spies generally suffer Interpol Syndrome and so do people working in detail-minded occupations such as accountancy. An IS sufferer shows remarkable recall for detail and a fine set of working neuro-transmitters, but can get lost in the details. They will remember the day, the weather on the day, the dress worn on the day, but will forget that they never liked the person in the first place and would have been better off not remembering them. Handling IS sufferers demands quick action: if you see one coming, turn the other way.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor,
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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