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Lecture 9

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Carolyn Ensley

Lecture 9AmnesiaThe distinction between explicit and implicit memory is also supported by evidence from cases of brain damageAmnesia is a disruption of memory due to brain damageAmnesiaRetrograde amnesia is an inability to remember events that occurred before the event that triggered the memory disruptionAnterograde amnesia is an inability to remember experiences after the event that triggered the memory disruptionMore likely to be brain damage than traumaHippocampusAmnesiaThe person known as HM was one of the most studied patients with amnesiaAs a last resort in treating HMs case of epilepsy portions of the brain that caused the seizures were surgically removedAfterward HM had a severe anterograde amnesia and was unable to recall anything that took place after his surgery as if nothing could get into longterm memoryAmnesiaA similar form of anterograde amnesia is observed in people with Korsakoffs syndromeThis disorder is caused by a deficiency of thiamine vitamin B1 in the diet and is associated with alcoholismVery common in Eastern Europe Produces anterograde amnesia AmnesiaBoth HM and patients with Korsakoffs syndrome have damage to the hippocampus and surrounding brain regionsHowever note that damage to the hippocampus does not disrupt memories that are already establishedInstead the hippocampus is important for memory acquisition or creating new memoriesAmnesiaCases of amnesia support the distinction between explicit and implicit memoryAnterograde amnesia seems to be limited to explicit memory while implicit memory is preservedAmnesiaFor instance in 1911 Swiss neurologist douard Claparde performed an informal experiment with a Korsakoffsyndrome patientWhen introducing himself to the patient he hid a pin in his hand which pricked the patientLater the patient could not explicitly remember Claparde but refused to shake his hand vaguely saying sometimes pins are hidden in peoples hands
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