Theories Of Amnesia

Great Essays
Memory Structures

Amnesia is a partial or total loss of memory. It is usually caused after an event causing brain damage and has 2 major symptoms. The first, anterograde amnesia, is the inability to learn new, explicit information after trauma. The second, retrograde amnesia, is the inability to retrieve explicit information from time prior to trauma, with a temporal grading, meaning newer memories are more susceptible to loss (Psych 240 Lecture, 10-15-14). Amnesia has been the focus of countless hours of research, however, none have totally explained how it works. There are many questions about the specific brain structures involved in memory and amnesia and a number of studies have been conducted to try to answer this puzzling query.
The
…show more content…
Patient HM was a man who experienced profound amnesia after removal of his medial temporal lobe to alleviate severe epilepsy and has provided many insights into the mechanisms of amnesia. This work revealed the importance of the amygdala and hippocampus, located in the medial temporal lobe, in explicit memory, a conscious recollection of declarative knowledge. However, his implicit memory, or memory for skills and procedural knowledge (Psych 240 Lecture, 10-15-14), was mostly intact. Numerous studies of HM across 30 years illustrated the importance of the hippocampus and amygdala in storing and retrieving explicit memories. (Ogden and Corkin, 1991). The studies of HM revealed, however, that amnesiacs could still learn some new facts and procedures. HM demonstrated a learning of tasks, however, he had no idea that he had learned it. One example is the tower of Hanoi experiment, in which subjects are asked to move a series of rings on pegs to create a stack with the largest ring at the top and the smallest at the bottom. While amnesiacs had no conscious recollection of completing the task, their performance increased over time as much as control subjects. This illustrates their ability to learn new procedural information, a part of implicit …show more content…
The information presented in the discussed studies supports the claim that the hippocampus and amygdala play an important role in memory and loss of memory via amnesia. The hippocampus plays a key role in explicit memory, including both episodic and semantic memory. Patients with damage to the hippocampus and surrounding structures experience difficulty in both remembering events leading up to the trauma and learning or remembering new information after trauma. These effects have been greatly studied in patient HM, who provided many key insights for psychologists. He demonstrated that the hippocampus is essential in both episodic memory and semantic memory. Patient HM does not remember anyone he met after his operation and has a very limited knowledge of events that occurred since then. He has a limited recognition of celebrities that became famous after his operation. He also seems to remember that his father passed away, but this could be a result of the memory becoming encoded in his procedural memory. He provided great insights into the human mind in many years of study. Additionally, other research indicated that the hippocampus is not involved in all memory. Kim and Faneslow showed that the hippocampus is involved in associative learning in rats, but has little role in long-term

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    Mirror Neuron Dysfunction

    • 1663 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Introduction Through decades of research, the Autism Spectrum Disorder has confused many researchers on what the causes of autism are. As studies continued, the finding of the sources behind autism were not found but a reason for the lack of communication skills was found within the brain. A mirror neuron dysfunction has been one of the main reasons for the stagnation of communication behavior within the autism spectrum disorder community. When trying to improve the dysfunction of the mirror neuron system and a development of communication skills, researchers have looked at music therapy as a form of therapy to help. Music making has been a form of music therapy researchers believe is an effective way advancing the mirror neuron dysfunction…

    • 1663 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The theories that have been developed by experts mostly involve the hippocampus and the essential function that it provides. Continued research on Anterograde Amnesia is important in order to gain knew knowledge about the hippocampus as well as other psychological phenomena related to anterograde amnesia, such as Alzheimer’s and retrograde amnesia. The studies presented in this paper address modern questions posed by researchers about anterograde amnesia. What has mainly been discovered is that some forms of anterograde amnesia can be treated if they are not the result of permanent brain damage. These studies have also presented questions to allow for further research, especially when it comes to the odd case of the patient who developed anterograde amnesia from a common dental procedure.…

    • 1743 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Episodic memory is most impacted usually when it comes to retrograde loss. Unlike the other disorders listed here, imaging would be needed specifically in order to tell if Jimmie’s condition could be attributable to hippocampal amnesia because the diagnosis of this amnesia is linked directly to the state of the…

    • 1071 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Clive Wearing Case Study

    • 811 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Clive developed a profound case of total amnesia as a result of his illness. Because the part of the brain required to transfer memories from the working to the long term area in damaged. He is unable to encode new memories. He only remembers a little part of his life before. He still knows how to play piano, which is because his cerebellum responsible for the maintenance of procedural is not damaged.…

    • 811 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Symptoms Of Mental Illness

    • 1209 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Both the cause and process of this nerve damage are still unknown (Senelick). Damage to the brain begins about a decade before any symptoms appear. The damage initially takes place in the hippocampus, the section of the brain that forms memories (“Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet”). Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning that it worsens over time. After a while, it causes hallucinations, false memories, and the loss of the ability to form coherent sentences (Check 14).…

    • 1209 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Brain Scans And Depression

    • 1012 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The human brain is complex. No matter how much scientists study it, there always seems to be more to learn about the human brain. Sometimes it seems the more we learn about the brain, the more we realize just how much we still do not understand. While this is by no means a complete explanation of everything going on neuroscience, here are three recent medical studies connected with the brain: Brain Scans and Depression Recently, researchers at King’s College London and The University of Manchester conducted a study involving 64 patients who were in remission from major depressive disorder. None of the participants were on prescription medication for depression at the start of the study.…

    • 1012 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Lobotomy Research Paper

    • 927 Words
    • 4 Pages

    I think it is very interesting and worth mentioning that his physical and outward appearance seemed to improve but the same success did not match his intellectual testing. Since this study was only on one particular person, it is hard to form an opinion on the procedure. There are so many things that could have factored in regarding his effects afterwards. That being said, lobotomy still is never an ideal situation is why it is not practiced in this way as treatment today. Like you have mentioned in class, it is much more targeted today, done by a specialist, and much less barbaric.…

    • 927 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Memory Retrograde Amnesia

    • 1223 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Retrograde amnesia is the inability to recover information that was taken before a specific date, usually the date of an accident or operation. However, he or she can still develop memories after the accident. Retrograde is usually caused by head trauma or brain damage to parts of the brain besides the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for training new memory. People suffering from retrograde amnesia are more likely to remember general knowledge rather than specifics.…

    • 1223 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    A common challenge that occurs in middle ages people is the Alzheimer’s Disease. The Alzheimer 's Disease is a serious condition that affects the loss of brain cell connections that connect short-term memories that are needed to form long-term memories. While studying the Alzheimer’s Disease, one will see that within an individual 's brain there are many parts that are affected by the disease. It is an…

    • 1280 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In other words, both kinds of inhibition disorders are a sign of progressing executive disorders. As the condition advances, these disorders may become more pronounced. In the initial stages of HTN, however, they can be detected with a set of selected neuropsychological tests. Visible cognitive impairments among HTN patients prove the condition 's detrimental effect on one 's CNS. Effective executive control, inhibition included, requires both of the brain 's hemispheres to work together—as evidenced by the fMRI results showing left asymmetry in HTN patients (cf.…

    • 714 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics