When I look up photographic memory techniques, I see a lot about a "military method". I think it's best captured here:

This method will take you at least 1 month to develop. You must also practice it every day because one missed day will set you back a week.

Step 1: You must be in a windowless, dark room. You need to be free from distraction with only a bright lamp in the room.

Step 2: Sit in a position where you have easy access to turn your light on and off without getting up. Next, get a piece of paper and cut a rectangular hole out of it.

Step 3: Now, get whatever it is that you’re trying to memorize. Cover it with the piece of paper, exposing only 1 paragraph.

Then, adjust your distance from the book in a way that your eyes will automatically focus on the words instantly upon opening.

Step 4: Next, turn off the light and let your eyes adjust to the dark. Flip the light on for a split second and then off again.

By doing so, you will have a visual imprint in your eyes of the material that was in front of you.

Step 5: When the imprint is fading, flip the light on again for a split second, while again staring at the material.

Step 6: Rinse and repeat the process until you can memorize every word in the paragraph.

However, I cannot find any information about the military trying this or any studies confirming that it works, much less the claim that one missed day will set you back a week.

Note that this method is also described here and here.

A similar question about the validity of this method was also asked here, which includes additional links that reference this "military method".

So there are multiple independent questions:

  1. Did the military, at any point, try any method similar to this?
  2. If anyone (including the military) has tested this method, did it appear to work?
  3. Is it true that missing one day of practicing this method generally sets one back by an entire week?
  • 1
    That reminds me of the "Renshawing" mentioned Robert Heinlein's novella "Gulf." It was a method to improve memory and reading speed, though, not simply to memorize a single passage.
    – JRE
    Oct 23 '19 at 5:49
  • 3
    Ha! Finally found the real Dr. Renshaw. This page on the "Heinlein Society" site lists all the characters in "Gulf" by full name.
    – JRE
    Oct 23 '19 at 5:53
  • 1
    Is the method described in Samuel Renshaw's Wikipedia page the one you had in mind?
    – JRE
    Oct 23 '19 at 5:54
  • The Wikipedia page just says "flashing pages", but that seems right!
    – Pro Q
    Oct 23 '19 at 19:18
  • 1
    This sounds like it would wreak havoc on the eyes.
    – JMac
    Oct 24 '19 at 12:47

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