Memory and Amnesia

Human beings use our minds every single day. We retrieve information about events that happened as little as yesterday or as far as years ago. We do not cognitively think about it, we just spit out information not being aware of how we got the information. Many researchers have studied this topic and I found this to be very intriguing. Most of our knowledge about how the brain lacks memory has been gleaned through fear conditioning (LeDoux 1). Has it ever occurred to you how we store information and what makes us remember certain information? There are different functions that goes on in our minds at the time of retrieval throughout the end when we have the information locked inside our brain. Has it occurred to you how one’s brain acts with amnesia associated with learning and memory? If so, I am going to discuss different functions your brain goes through when you are diagnosed with amnesia. To get started on this journey, I will discuss neuropsychology of memory, move to the problem of the classification, and end with memory consolidation.

Neuropsychology is psychology and philosophical probe about cognition to fundamental functions. By using neuropsychology, you can see what the brain uses to achieve memory storage. To develop better questions about memory, I chose to study amnesia and how it links to our memory. Amnesia can occur in the absence of other cognitive shortage. To learn more information about amnesia, we use animals instead of humans for procedures like this.

Amnesia is a disorder where you forget events, people, or information whether in a short time period or in a long time period. Amnesia is different in all individuals, but basically work the same throughout the individual’s minds. I am going to look at different types of amnesia and show how it affects each one. Larry R. Squires, the author of Memory and the Brain, found that people who have Diencephalic amnesia have difficulty making temporal order judgments and they cannot accurately predict their own memory performance. Another amnesic patient, who had medical temporal amnesia, who’s learning ability is just as severe as diencephalic amnesia. Temporal amnesia causes the patient to have frontal lobe damage because he or she is having cognitive impairment (Squires 183).

Next I am going to tackle memory consolidation. Memory consolidation is the idea that memory changes over time, after learning (Squires 184). Some evidence was found about temporal region in our brain. The patient who suffers from medical temporal amnesia recalls memories from 11 years ago, therefore, the temporal region is not a site of storage for all memories. The temporal region develops the memories, but does not store them. When the temporal region is damaged, one may have difficulty in retrieving or accessing information (Martin & Chao 1). Throughout an individual gaining memory, the temporal region works even when the individual feels like he or she have forgotten the information. When an individual does forget the information, the temporal region still works by strengthen the information that has not been forgotten, letting the individual hold on to that information for a long period of time. Memory consolidation also requires time just like the nervous system. Memory consolidation happens, somewhat, at a slow rate making sure to capture every event and store it into your memory. The more traumatic or exciting the event is, the more it will get retrieved and stay in your memory even when the medial temporal region is not present. In amnesia there are two signs, rapid forgetting and temporally limited amnesia. These two signs can disrupt the consolidation of memory. The patient who had diencephalic and the patient who had medical temporal amnesia obtain skills for reading, but cannot obtain the functions needed to understand the world by using certain day to day skills.

When discussing how memory is organized in the brain, starts with the nervous system. The nervous system differentiates types of memory such as skills and facts and specific events. There are certain knowledge in your brain that is responsible for certain kinds of things such as procedural knowledge which is responsible for certain skills that you acquire. These types of knowledge is not yet formed to see if the knowledge functions accurately in amnesia patients. When procedural knowledge was mentioned, it implies that skills can be obtained in amnesia patients quite specifically. Amnesia patients can retrieve a word that they were introduced to later when a certain situation presented itself. For an example, if a person introduces a word to a patient with amnesia, he or she can retrieve that same word later on if he or she is given a certain situation to do so. This type of retrieval can be known as activation. To see if this was correct Squires tested this in the patients. He gave them a word that could be finalized to form different words. He gave the patients a list of words prior to that day and he gave the patients these directions to see if they could comply. After this experiment was over, he saw that the amnestic patients did not perform well on the test, however, when the patients were asked to take a re-test and was not told that they were a part of an experiment hey did rather well on the re-test. Thus, amnestic patients can do well with the previously seen words that were presented to them.

While reviewing over the amnestic patients, it shows that some amnestic individuals can remember certain words based on certain instances and in other amnestic patients, they can retrieve some words, but not all. This means that the patients have the information, but cannot access all of it do it their amnesia. This is seen as a storage problem because the patients have a problem maintaining events, which can be linked to part of the nervous system not connecting to one another, so it cannot connect that certain memory to the next for it to become a part of your stored memory.

In conclusion amnestic individuals have a hard time trying to access certain memories and/or words connect everyday life. The problem is most likely rooted in their medial temporal region. The medial temporal region is used for information to get organized and to connect with another memory or information. Since the patients with amnesia is lacking this, they have difficulty linking memories together and functioning throughout the days. Even though the results showed the all amnestic patients are not forgetful, they can acquire some knowledge to remember certain words, so they can apply it to the same words but in different situations. Throughout the paper, I informed you on the start of memory with the neuropsychology all the way leading up to the completion of Squires experiment with the amnestic patients. Memory can be acquired easily in normal patients, but even though amnestic patients take longer in retrieving certain information does not mean that they do not understand certain information and are unable to process it.

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