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Chapter 11

PSYC 271 Chapter 11: PSYC271 Chapter Textbook Notes 11

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PSYC 271
Amanda Maracle

PSYC271 – CHAPTER 11: Learning, Memory, and Amnesia Learning – how experience changes the brain Memory – how these changes are stored and subsequently reactivated - Knowledge about these mechanisms has come from significant studies based on patients with brain-damage-produced amnesia (any pathological loss of memory) as well as animal studies 1.1 AMNESIAC EFFECTS OF BILATERAL MEDIAL TEMPORAL LOBECTOMY - H.M was a man who in 1953, at 27, has medial portions of temporal lobes removed due to extreme epilepsy The Case of H.M., The Man Who Changed the Study of Memory - Suffered from one generalized seizure each week and partial ones daily despite huge doses of anti-convulsive medication o Arose from foci in medial portions of left and right temporal lobes - Decided to perform bilateral medial temporal lobectomy by removing medial portions of both temporal lobes o Including: amygdala, hippocampus, and adjacent cortex o The lobe is separated from the rest of the brain by a large cut - Generalized weekly seizures were all but eliminated and partial daily seizures reduced to only a few per day - Left with same perceptual and motor skills but his IQ increased from 104 to 118 - Assessed amnesiac effects on H.M., but there are various forms, o Retrograde (backward-acting) amnesia for inability to remember things before the test o Anterograde (forward-acting) amnesia for inability to remember things after the test ▪ Short-term memory (storage of new information for brief periods of time while a person attends to it) is affected ▪ Long-term memory (storage of new information once stopped attending to it) may also be affected - Had mild retrograde amnesia for events 2 years before event - Memory of events was intact as well as short-term memory (6 digit span) - Almost complete inability to form new long-term memories - As if he was continually regaining consciousness o Never remembered people’s names, conversations, never able to remember new address – lost his future PSYC271 – CHAPTER 11: Learning, Memory, and Amnesia Formal Assessment of H.M.’s Anterograde Amnesia: Discovery of Unconscious Memories - 7 tests were used to assess H.M.’s long term memory o Determined severe deficits in LTM o Able to store LTM, but H.M. had no conscious awareness of this Digit Span + 1 Test - Test of verbal long term memory - Asked to repeat 5 digits that were read to him at 1-second intervals, to which he repeated correctly - After 25 trials, unable to repeat 8-digit sequence, whereas most people can do up to 15 digits in this amount of time Block-Tapping Memory Span Test - H.M. had global amnesia where he could not remember information presented in all sensory modalities - Array of 9 blocks spread on a board in front of him, watched experimenter tap a series of them, and asked to repeat the tapping sequence - Had a block-tapping-span of 5 blocks, in the normal range, but could not learn 6 Mirror-Drawing Test - Draw a line within boundaries of star-shaped target by watching his hand i
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