Cognitive Memory Assessment

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Cognitive Psychology Continuous Assessment Question 2

The understanding of memory has changed drastically in the past few decades. Some of these changes can be attributed to research on amnesiac patients. One of the most well known amnesiac patients to cause a breakthrough in theories of psychology is Patient H.M. From studying H.M, psychologists could determine the existence of multiple memory systems and how damage to the brain can affect different parts of working memory. This essay aims to discuss the impact H.M had on the field of psychology and how psychology has evolved since the discoveries found in H.M

There are many definitions of amnesia. Ben Johnson (2001) defined it as an indication that someone has faulty memory. Overall,
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While it is true that psychologists such as Francis Galton (1908) were theorizing on the possibilities of more than one memory system, it was R. Atkinson and R. Shiffrin (1968) who created the first multi-store model. This model suggested that outside stimulus was encoded into short term memory through the sensory register, and can stay in short term memory for up to twenty seconds, after which it is either forgotten or transferred into long term memory. Information stays in short term memory through continuous rehearsal. H.M displayed this when he was given a 3 digit number and asked to remember it. Through continuous rehearsal, H.M could hold those three digits for up to 15 minutes. But if stopped rehearsing the digits, he would quickly forgot that he was even asked. Years later, Baddeley (1974) revisited the multi-store model and created his own working memory model. This model describes more of the processes when encoding information into long term memory. This model is made up of a visual-spatial sketchpad on the right, which takes visual and spatial information and encodes it into the central executive. On the left is the phonological loop which stores audio and verbal information. It is here where continuous rehearsal comes into play. The central executive is what keeps the phonological loop and visual-spatial sketchpad in balance. Memory…show more content…
Sacks clearly says in his preface that all his stories are based on the lives of real life people, therefore we can use his book as a basis to study different clinical illness.

The Lost Mariner tells the story of a man who suffers from Korsakoff’s Syndrome (1887). Korsakoff’s Syndrome is brain damage as a result of a lack in vitamin B1 deficiency, the most common cause being excessive alcohol consumption. This is the case with the patient in Sacks (1985) story, Jimmie, who used to be in the navy, and as a result of Korsakoff’s Syndrome, has forgotten most of his life from his twentieth birthday onward.
Through Sack’s attempts to make these clinical illnesses more understandable to the public, we see the effect that Korsakoff’s syndrome has on the average daily life. For example, Jimmie believes he is still 19 even though up to thirty years have passed. When his brother visits, he doesn’t recognize him as he is much older than he was years ago. He doesn’t remember the doctor even though the doctor had seen him only hours
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