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Lecture 12

Thursday, Oct 18/2012 - Lecture 12

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2330
Francesco Leri

Thursday, October 18 2012 PSYC 2650 Lecture Topics in Memory: Neuropsychology • When memory systems are damaged in humans, what are the consequences? • Why do we find neuropsychological patients interesting? ◦ They tell us how memory works in normal individuals ◦ Different memory systems have different loci in the brain, which is more evidence for us as cognitive neuroscientists that there are two different types of memory (short term and long term memory) ◦ Other hypotheses for memory systems Video Clips • Amnesic “Mike” (Real individual) ◦ Living with amnesia: the hypocampus and memory ◦ Memory defines the richness of our lives ◦ Memory problems are the most common problems reported by individuals with brain or neurological injury ◦ Hippocampus plays a special role in memory ▪ Overlies the temporal lobe near the brainstem ▪ When the hippocampus is damaged, the formation of new memories is impossible, but previous memories are kept in tact ◦ Without memory, only a vague understanding of one's existance ◦ Memory problems are different depending on which area of the brain is damaged ◦ Mike has trouble remembering new things that people tell him and new experiences ▪ He is able to work with his hands and learn procedural memories ▪ He takes explicitly detailed notes (really detailed, ie. With the time, date, names of individuals involved, exactly what was discussed and any arrangements made etc...) ◦ Mike didn't have complete damage to both hippocampi • Fictional amnesic character Leonard (Memento is a more accurate portrayal of amnesia than is given in most films) ◦ Anterograde amnesia – can't form new memories ◦ He can only rely on short term memory ◦ Has a system that takes the place of long-term memory (taking notes on the back of photos) ◦ Imagine that unless something is in your mind at the time, it doesn't exist in your memory or mind • Social cues and environmental prompts often serve as “hints” to help amnesic patients cope with their condition (ie. Reading body language to know an individual has met them before, leaving a note or sign on the mirror to remind about taking pills at a certain time) • Mike can learn new manual skills even though he can't learn new information and use it • Reading and other skills that were developed a long time ago are generally well preserved in amnesic patients Neuropsychology • Amnesia • Memory distinctions ◦ Testing hypotheses Causes ofAmnesia • Head injury ◦ Sometimes memory is lost only in the short term and can be recovered later • Cerebral cascular incident such as stroke ◦ Either there is cell loss because there is not enough blood or oxygen for the cells or the cells die because of the pressure and there is not enough space • Epileptic activity ◦ Seizures can cause amnesia ◦ Temporal lobe which is also a common focal point for seizure initiation (We're not really sure why) ◦ Most famous epileptic of all time is known as H.M. who lost his memory due to neurosurgery • Electroconvulsive Therapy • Neurosurgery ◦ Most famous epileptic of all time is known as H.M. who lost his memory due to neurosurgery • Tumors ◦ Tumors take up space that can crush and kill brain cells • Chronic alcohol abuse ◦ ie. Korsakoff's syndrome which is common in alcoholics but is really due to a thiamine deficiency. This deficiency causes damage to the brain, particularly to the medial temporal lobe • Alzheimer's Disease ◦ One of the most prominent symptoms we associate withAlzheimer's disease is memory loss • etc... Symptoms: Definitions • Anterograde Amnesia (AA): Inability to learn new things, or remember information learned after the onset of amnesia ◦ What we refer to when we can't form new long-term memories ◦ Often described as short-term memory loss, but he actually doesn't have a problem with his working memory – he has a problem transferring information from short term memory to long term memory • Retrograde Amnesia (RA): Difficulty in remembering events that occurred before the onset of amnesia. ◦ In this case, the individual cannot remember one's past ◦ Generally retrograde amnesia do
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