Is there an aural version of a photographic memory?

I have never encountered the term "phonographic memory". And while photographs are still a thing, phonographs are practically dinosaurs. The word itself feels outdated.

I'm actually looking for a term (idiom or phrase) that means "remembers the exact words that were spoken".

2 Answers 2


German psychologist Ulric Nesser coined the term "echoic memory" for this back in 1967.


Any perfect memory of this nature is actually called an eidetic memory.

From the Wikipedia article on eidetic memory

Scholar Annette Kujawski Taylor stated, "In eidetic memory, a person has an almost faithful mental image snapshot or photograph of an event in their memory. However, eidetic memory is not limited to visual aspects of memory and includes auditory memories as well as various sensory aspects across a range of stimuli associated with a visual image." [Emphasis mine]

True photographic memories have never truly been shown to exist. It's the ability to remember strings of seemingly random bits of information without any pattern or detail that binds them together. (e.g. pages of random numbers)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.