A paper on Amnesia F07

A paper on Amnesia F07 - October 19, 2007 Cognition (Psy...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
October 19, 2007 Cognition (Psy 355) An Argument for Double Dissociation between Semantic and Episodic Memories
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
When I was growing up, my favorite relative outside of my immediate family was Uncle David (my dad’s oldest brother). At the time, my parents were busy opening a retail business, so they would often count on Uncle David to pick me up from daycare on school days or take me to the movies on the weekends. Over the years, we became very close. When I was about 12, due to complications from a surgical procedure, Uncle David began to suffer serious memory impairment. He became unable to recognize many members of his family (including myself), and he forgot many of his past experiences (including the time that he spent with me). As you can imagine, this was painful for me. I misguidedly took his inability to recognize me personally, so I felt very hurt. As time progressed, I became more able to cope with my uncle’s condition as I learned more about amnesia and the effects that it has on those who suffer from it. Amnesia is a condition whereby memory is fully or partially lost due to brain trauma caused by a virus, an accident, or a surgical procedure (class lecture). Retrograde amnesia impairs memories acquired before the occurrence of brain trauma, and anterograde amnesia affects memories acquired after the trauma (class lecture). Uncle David suffered aspects of both. He finds it impossible to remember certain loved ones known well before the surgery, and he continues to have problems remembering these people despite multiple reintroductions following his surgery. Although my uncle’s inability to retain many personal memories is sad, there are aspects of his condition that are somewhat fascinating. As evidenced by his Columbia University education, my uncle is and has always been exceptionally smart. Despite his current deficiencies, he has maintained his status as the walking dictionary/encyclopedia of my family. I have always wondered how my uncle’s memory could be so damaged in one respect (pertaining to personal experiences) yet so intact in another (regarding factual information). It so happens that my query can be answered by current research.
Background image of page 2
Researchers have made a distinction between two kinds of conscious (or declarative) memory: semantic memory and episodic memory. Semantic memory involves the ability to remember factual information and meanings (class lecture). Episodic memory involves memory for specific events that have happened to a person or experiences that were directly witnessed by that person (class lecture). It appears that my Uncle David has relatively intact semantic memory, although his episodic memory appears to be greatly impaired. Many researchers feel that examples such as this provide evidence that semantic and episodic memory are operated independently of one another, as damage to one of these types of memory does not necessitate damage to the other (De Renzi, Liotti, & Nichelli, 1987; Van der Linden, Bredart, Depoorter, &
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/13/2008 for the course CC 302 taught by Professor Galinsky during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

Page1 / 10

A paper on Amnesia F07 - October 19, 2007 Cognition (Psy...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online