I have questions about memory


Is there a function or certain MBTI types that allows people to remember songs, conversations, dialogue in movies?
My daughter can do this. Moana just came out. She knows the entire soundtrack. A friend of ours can too, and my cousin as well. They just listen and it sticks. Like really well, whereas I’ve heard songs for four decades and still can’t quite even sing along to most of them.
My daughter is [pretty sure] ESFJ. Our friend is probably ESTJ. Still wavering on my cousin.
Can you do this? What type do you know that can? Is it Si auxiliary? Or…?

My husband can remember numbers and lectures it seems [INFP] but is not good at songs. He is good at detecting voice though, like from animation, he can tell who the actor is far more than I.


Anecdotally, among people I know, it seems to me like there may be a correlation with Ni in the auxiliary or tertiary. And with dominant Si, maybe aux too. Those Ni types more for media, the Si types more for conversations. But my sample is small.


I remember song lyrics but I’m terrible with names. I remember conversations but I may not remember who I had it with. I also can’t remember movie details but I remember who the actors are. Weird.


Ooh! Hmm…I agree with Stuart on the dominant/aux Si, but my sample size is small as well. :stuck_out_tongue: I had a friend who was definitely an xSFJ, and a salient trait of hers seems to be memory for concrete details. She’s like a store of information/details, trivia stuff, song lyrics, etc. But yeah, I was most impressed with just how well she remembers all these songs and their titles + lyrics…She’s great with charades as well. And trust me on this, she is definitely a well-developed ESFJ or ISFJ (utilizing the auxiliary to its best potential), so much that I cannot tell which one she is.

It’s interesting that you say that you are bad at remembering song lyrics. I’m the same. In fact, whenever I hear a song, all I remember is the melody, the mood, general structure/pattern of the song, and whether it is artistically of merit, but fuck, I can NEVER catch the words. I am poor at auditory processing (I mean in regards to spoken verbatim)…that’s why. Maybe it’s related to Ni, idk, but of course, there are some Ni-types out there who are probably excellent at verbal processing. Case-by-case thing likely.

I’m not sure about the Ni in aux/tert…that would be interesting to know. Maybe ISxPs might be good at remembering song lyrics, conversations, or just any sensory detail in general due to Si id? They would pick up that shit automatically, making them really skilled dancers/singers/craftsman/etc par to none?

To me, something like lyrics in a song or a dialogue in a movie/conversation would generally fall into the sensory-detail category…reductionist perspectives…therefore Si…but obviously, this is a gross generalization. A better question would be to ask what’s going on behind all the remembering of lyrics/dialogues/etc? (e.g. what are the motivations? what are their interests - are they lyricists, singers, scientists?)…then any function could be behind it, no? but most likely some kind of perception function involved, and most likely introverted?

Agh all these categorizations are driving my mind crazy, but this was a fun and tempting question. :slight_smile:


Stuart, please humor my tired brain and tell me why you think Ni might be involved. Is it connections made maybe?


Michelle, do you remember entire songs after one or two listenings?


Hey I have no idea, just reporting. My guess is that Ni is good at impersonating, and at storing information as-if-visually therefore with great compression and ease of access.

I personally am awful with movies, OK with lyrics, decent at conversations, excellent with episodes, and fucking encyclopedic with things I’ve read (although my encoding has slowed, thank goodness), which I attribute to the storage and patterning efficiency of dominant Ni. I am good at memorising lines for plays, so maybe with media it’s a selectivity thing.

Other INFJs I know are not particularly good at quoting movies or songs either. But the ENFJ, ENTJ, ISFP, ISTP types in my life are all superb with that sort of detail.


Schlopadoo’s guess about Si id seems likely too.


Edit to say: im a primary Ne user and have been described by clients of mine as "like mercury on a table"
Ok end edit.

I’m a guy who memorizes songs and movie lines and such. I have what feels like a recorder in my head for the rhythm and pitch. My autistic son is super good at it too and walks around quoting Amazon Alexa’s intros before singing. “Music from Wall-E: the major motion picture. Soundtrack by various Vartis.” He’s four so the word is Vartis.

“out there–there’s a world outside of Yonkers…”

My son says almost nothing that isn’t a quote from a song or a movie but he’s mixing and mashing so well it’s becoming useful. “I love your dress!” from zootopia wasn’t a real hit for the male cashier at Safeway, but five months later he’s working with "I love your -
color they are wearing + article of clothing, and his closer is grabbing someone’s face when they get close to him, staring at their eyes, then saying “I love your accurate eye color eyes!” It sounds like the first time every time. Specifically it sounds like Judy Hopps.

It’s very clear to me that he memorizes sounds way before words. I do the same thing. In school on tests I would have the answers flash into my head intact rhythmically as the teacher had stated them a month earlier or as I’d read them in my mind.

In college i studied a famous writers stuff because I had a good essay ready to submit for a contest in his namesake. I spent about 20 days 6 hrs a day revising after studying his stuff, after basically imprinting the rhythm of how he thinks, since I knew in this first year of this contest the judges would be biased toward something that felt like his stuff, but with, as they say, a new and strikingly original, lol, eye. won $10k and got an agent and such. I revised the 30 page piece by reading it aloud back to front until every sentence felt as good as it possibly could – literally, objectively as good as is possible – in my mouth. Good in the way that the anonymous judges would define it, I assumed. I learned in the end I was the only not Ivy League short listed on this thing, but I had actuslly like written an acceptance speech and really i expected to win. Me and a Nobel prize winner got awards lol. This world. There was Wolfe in a white suit, there was Joan Didion with a glass of wine in the doorway to the women’s restroom in the middle of Calvin Trillin doing whatever the fuck he does and whatever the fuck the New Yorker does in general. Well, I love it. I take it in print like a fucking hipster. I read it and stuff. I’m off topic.

That’s fun to write out but I hope it also serves the thread a bit. The point is that I memorize like a machine. 100s of scriptures as a kid I can still recite. My mom had me put them to music. all of literature and art is audio for me, and I don’t listen to music much because it’s too hard to enjoy. Except for a few brilliant people. Kendrick Lamar, for example. I don’t know hip hop one bit, but he’s legitimately brilliant, Doing something. Hmm. My little brothers shit, though he’ll likely check out of planetary existence before he gets the chance to do anything meaningful with it.

When I’m alone I make noises all the time. Didn’t know that until I started seeing my son do it.

It’s interesting stuff. Echolalia. But also I do a lot of socializing as sonar.

I don’t wear contacts so that I can’t see very well. That’s been a new thing for almost a year. Loving it.

Oh and also as a kid my ears used to do an audio hallucination where it seemed the world was suddenly turned up to 11, and yet it was simultaneously clear to me that the world was not turned up and I was hallucinating. That lasted 10-60 minutes a session, 30 times a year, tapering steeply in my teens.

And I listened to les miserables and newsies many times a day.

And I read a shit ton, mostly scripture, as a kid. But didn’t like good literature until 9th grade Shakespeare which blew my fucking mind. Just, kapwoooosh. Splat. After that the best of the best are in real live actual fact David a Foster Wallace and then, for me, Dostoevsky. I’ve only read like 200 pages of the later total. But it only takes one page really. Hell, one line, with Shakespeare, to get what it is. And Jonathan franzen who has the Tempo of a Russian for me somehow.

And when I did door to door pest control sales in Florida I would have to fight really really hard not to accidentally imitate people’s speech style within seconds of the door opening. Boston, NY, Cuba, puert rico, DR, southern, Southern, northern Florida southern, four seconds later I’m hearing myself speak like a different person.

So it’s all rhythm for me. I’ve been clicking my teeth to a rhythm since I can remember and I was doing it just now when i started typing this sentence.

Never stops.

Edit… hmmm it occurs to me that I let this rhythmic tension off occasionally via dance / writing / improvising with my voice. I’m pretty sure all this stuff is related to memory so I hope you don’t feel thread murdered. Here’s a link to a pretty creative ball of steaming energy that I really cringe listening too but it’s also, I admit, a good representation of my tempo and rhythm. After listening to hip hop the first time in my life, days and days of Kendrick Lamar at the insisting of my brothers, i had to reflect something back. All of like 10 people have heard it and only anonymously-- careful with your volume, starts loud and weird: https://bumpers.fm/e/ati7o180v6h000shfngg

And I just recorded this, again careful with volume, it’s not pleasant. the sound of me while reading this forum, clicking my teeth. Phone pressed to my jaw to catch it better.
Gets more clear 15 seconds in or so.

I think I do this to Block sensation. It’s like stimming maybe.


Sometimes, especially when I was younger. Now, I think it depends on the genre. If there is meaning in the words, I tend to pay more attention but I think I unconsciously absorb songs as well. Even songs I don’t like I can sing every word. I also remember the lyrics from songs I haven’t heard in years. They just emerge like a memory. I think that’s why time is not linear to me. Past events wash over me as though they are happening again. I could relate it to a PTSD flashback but they’re not all tramatic. As far as what function is responsible for this…I’m not sure. I’m a Pisces so I absorb everything in my environment plus I’m an infj so Se also absorbs the environment. The emergence of past events I think I would relate to Fi and Ni(?) possibly?? Not so sure about Ni. I think Ni is involved I’m just not sure how. As an individual function Ni is very hard for me to see as a whole. I can separate myself from most other functions and look at them somewhat objectively but I can’t get that much distance with Ni. I do think Ni is the reason I can have conversations with people and not remember who I had them with. I’m not talking about people I’m close to. I’m talking about conversations with…umm…like work clients. I used to be a hair stylist, and I could have deep emotional conversations and I would remember every detail of the conversation but not who I had it with. Especially if they are a newer client. The next time I would see them I might not remember anything about their face but they would bring up a subject we discussed and my mind becomes flooded with who this person is. Kind of the final Ni conclusion?


An intriguing issue imo for sure. I’m super fascinated by the question of perception in general. I used to be slightly interested, knowing I had some sensory ‘issues’ as a kid, knowing how non visual my experience is, And knowing for a long time how unavoidably i imitate sounds and dialects around me even when that can be unintentionally offensive to people.

I feel like I present as being on the autistic spectrum, if I’m describing my sensory stuff, but I was never suspected of that because of lacking what adults viewed as behaviors that needed to be corrected … Which is fine by me, whatever.

But I kind of wonder if both me and my ASD diagnosed son are not actually autistic but in some way highly skewed toward certain elements of perception. I don’t know.

Since writing the massive reply I left in this thread last night I’ve been thinking the Audio thing for me, the rhythm thing, might be my inferior introverted sensing. I know almost nothing about what introverted sensing is. But if I prefer intuitive takes as I’m aiming perception outward, it makes sense to me I’m not aware of sight or sound or anything really in the moment. Only as stuff stacks in Si, like, not as mental memory but as physical memory, muscle memory from the mimicray I unconsciously do, probably perceptibly (sub-audible vocalization, tapping fingers, trying on new words with my tongue) does the memory form. And in this form it forms strong and sticks, not as an abstract memory but as physical, concrete, lived motion. Super sense based and internally focused.

I often have a sense of where in my body sounds are resonating. It strikes me suddenly that while I generally think of myself as a disembodied mind shackled to a heavy dumb body, and thus totally fine with like, giving up vision, the experience of vibrating to sound is quite a big part of what makes me me.

Maybe this is why I prefer reading and writing words over sketching images. Writing and reading has a rhythm to it, one I keep up by typing incredibly fast, and alternatively images are foreign to me. I don’t know what anything looks like and never notice it. Can’t usually remember my family member’s faces when I try to, and I actually only look in the mirror once or twice a week, usually thinking “I should look in the mirror.”

Maybe this Is Ne ask, with Si doing physical pattern memory; maybe my strong memory, associated with sound And rhythm, stems from the particular tilt of the relationship between these two. Thinks to think about for me.


My enfp brother is a rythmns-based person too. He knows the places he lives in by the rythmns he makes on the stairs… that kind of thing.


I don’t know if it’s a type-specific thing.I’ve always been able to get down song lyrics and movie lines really fast and thoroughly. It’s not particularly about the words themselves, because with music I can memorize even foreign language songs fairly quickly. (I’m an INFJ.)

Although now that I think about it, I’ll remember all the actual lyrics, but I usually don’t remember the titles. If I’m telling someone about a song, I’m usually like, “Oh, umm, you know, that Beatles song about the blackbird singing in the dead of night? What was the name???”

Also, I think I’m reversed with Michelle re: movies. I can remember movie lines and plots in detail, but I’ll never for the life of me remember who was in them. Or even the character names, for that matter. I only remember those if I stop and “play” a line in my head where a character’s name is said.

I wonder if the stuff I do remember well is supposed to come from Si, but then, isn’t Si supposed to be the function INFJs are really deficit in? Si is the one function I don’t “get” at all. I feel like I sort of understand what the other ones are, but even though I’ve read up in detail what Si is…I just can’t quite grasp it. What it is, how it works, all that.

johnonymous, it’s interesting that you bring up ASD - it runs rampant on both sides of my family, and I’ve been told I likely have it myself. So maybe the things I do tend to remember are more related to that, and less to function stacks. Hmmm. I think Prax said she has ASD, and people with ASD do tend to sort of group together. And then I wonder if having ASD throws an Si wrench into everything since it tends to alter how a person experiences different physical sensations and stimuli…

But maybe, in general, memory is a bit more tied to one’s interests than in function stacks? One of my friends is an INFP and is a math whiz and I think she has a great memory for numbers (even though she has a really hard time remembering conversations and plot details from media). She’s not emotionally equipped to stick out a STEM career, so she’s avoided it. But she can remember all kinds of neat stats and facts and number…things.


Thank you all for your comments. I am reading. I am considering. The more, the merrier.