Memory Loss Case Study

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Interaction between the Psychological basis and Physiological basis of Memory loss in relation to HM’s case study. Memory loss, commonly referred to as ‘Amnesia’ is “a failure of memory caused by physical injury, disease, drug use or psychological trauma” (American Psychological Association, 2002). Mostly due to lesion or surgical removal of various parts of the brain. Unlike the plot twists in movies and a common cliché on television programs, Amnesia in real life is not a dramatic form of forgetting who you are and doesn’t result simply, in the loss of self-identity. It is a lot more complicated than that. Contrary to popular belief, Amnesiacs are usually coherent and know who they are. However, they will have trouble forming novel memories…show more content…
It is vital for everyday functioning and goes through a three staged process: Encoding, storage and Retrieval. This information is very briefly stored in our sensory memory and if attended to, flows into Short term memory and once rehearsed, is encoded in Long term memory which stores information for a longer period. This model was introduced by Atkinson and Shiffrin titled “Multi store Model”. (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968). This is one of the most influential models of memory and included the following assumptions. 1. Memory is a serial process that facilitates the transfer of information (From SM to STM to LTM). 2. Each category of memory has its own store. (For e.g. STM uses a particular section of the brain than the LTM) 3. Each type of memory has a single- unitary store. HM’s study strongly supports this model as it shows that long term memory and short term memory are two crucially important but distinct stores. After the removal of Hippocampus, HM’s short term memory was still intact. (Corkin, 1984). For instance, HM had no problem repeating a telephone number and had a normal digit span. In fact, he could have a normal conversation for quite long until the discourse did not need reference to an incident that was mentioned initially in the conversation. However his long term memory was damaged as he was unable to form new memories and transfer them into his long term memory. (Memory Consolidation process was affected). Although he had no trouble remembering people he met long ago, he couldn’t remember meeting new people at all. Reading and re-reading the same magazine created no idea of familiarity (Scoville and Milner, 1957). Two of the hypotheses that Psychologists identified after assessing his case is that short term memory does not require the hippocampus for formation of memories and that they are biologically different from long term memory. Secondly, long term memory
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