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Memory IV Memory Systems Amnesia. Are there multiple LTM memory systems?. How do you learn a new skill? How do you learn a new fact? How about learning about an event? Is there one long-term memory (LTM) system for these types of knowledge or are there multiple LTM systems?.

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Memory IV Memory Systems Amnesia

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are there multiple ltm memory systems
Are there multiple LTM memory systems?
  • How do you learn a new skill?
  • How do you learn a new fact?
  • How about learning about an event?
  • Is there one long-term memory (LTM) system for these types of knowledge or are there multiple LTM systems?
a taxonomy of memory systems
A Taxonomy of Memory Systems














(skills & habits)



(classical & operant conditioning)

Medial Temporal Lobe



Amydala/ Cerebellum

semantic and episodic memory
Semantic and Episodic Memory
  • Semantic memory
    • memory for facts about the world
      • can a canary sing?
      • who is Secretary of State of the US?
  • Episodic memory
    • memory for events in our lives (temporal organization)
      • what did you eat for breakfast?
      • where were you for the Super Bowl game?

Semantic or Episodic Memory?

  • I remember that
    • I got soaked in the rain yesterday walking to class
    • Barack Obama is the President of the US
    • my first grade teacher could not pronounce my name the first day of school
    • California is facing severe drought conditions
implicit and explicit memory
Implicit and explicit memory
  • Implicit memory:

past experiences influence perceptions, thoughts & actions without awareness that any information from past is accessed

  • Explicit memory:

conscious access to info from the past

(“I remember that..” )

-> involves conscious recollection


Explicit & Implicit Memory Tests

Look at the following words. I will test your memory for these words in various ways.

memory test
Memory Test
  • Explicit test of memory: recall
    • Write down the words you remember from the list in the earlier slide
  • Implicit tests of memory
    • On the next slide, you will see some words missing letters, some “word fragments” and some anagrams. Guess what each word might be.
implicit memory tasks
Implicit Memory Tasks
  • Word-fragment completion is an implicit memory task.Fragments are (often) completed with words previously studied in the absence of an explicit instruction to remember the word
  • Amnesiacs often show spared implicit memory

dissociation suggest different systems for implicit and explicit memory systems

implicit vs explicit memory
Implicit vs. Explicit Memory
  • Graf, Squire, & Mandler (1984):
    • Study words: cheese, house, …
    • Explicit memory test: cued recall. Complete fragment to a word from study list:

ch _ _ _ _

    • Implicit memory test: word stem completion. Complete fragment to form any word: ch _ _ _ _
implicit memory
Implicit Memory
  • Other forms
    • Procedural Memory
    • Perceptual learning
    • Classical conditioning
  • Real-world applications
    • Unintentional plagiarism
  • Blow to head, Concussion
  • Korsakoff syndrome (severe vit. B1 deficiency)
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Damage to hippocampus, thalamic structures
  • ECT (electroconvulsive shock therapy)
  • Midazolam: artifically induced amnesia
  • Types:
    • Retrograde: cannot remember old memories
    • Anterograde: cannot form new episodic memories
retrograde amnesia
Retrograde amnesia
  • Temporal gradient:
    • early memories are better remembered than memories before trauma (Ribot’s law)
    • Recently formed memories continue to undergo neurological change: memory consolidation
temporal gradient
Temporal Gradient
  • Testing memory for diary entries from retrograde amnesiac

(Butters & Cermak, 1986)

anterograde amnesia
Anterograde Amnesia
  • Inability to acquire new information
    • Think of movie “memento”
    • Does not affect short-term memory
    • Does not affect general knowledge from the past
    • But, it is difficult to learn new facts
    • Affects memory regardless of modality (visual, auditory, tactile, etc).
    • Spares skilled performance
famous anterograde amnesiac hm
Famous Anterograde Amnesiac: HM
  • Surgery when 27 years old (1953) to deal with severe epilepsy
  • Removed bilaterally medial temporal lobes, including hippocampus
  • A NPR segment on HM

Henry Gustav Molaison

  • Could still retrieve memories acquired long before surgery
    • had normal vocabulary
    • average IQ
    • intact working memory
  • Profound anterograde amnesia: could not form new explicit/declarative memories
  • General knowledge intact but “stuck in time”:
    • Did not learn words introduced after 1953: “Jacuzzi”, “granola”, “flower-child”
clive wearing
Clive Wearing
  • Accomplished British musician
  • Suffered from encephalitis
    • hippocampus destroyed in both hemispheres
    • frontal lobe damage as well
  • Retrograde as well as anterograde amnesia
    • memory lasts between 7-30 seconds
clive wearing28
Clive Wearing
  • Diary entries:

8:31 AM: Now I am really, completely awake9:06 AM: Now I am perfectly, overwhelmingly awake9:34 AM: Now I am superlatively, actually awake

clive wearing video 4min
Clive Wearing: Video (~4min.)

For full video segment see:

clive wearing30
Clive Wearing
  • Spared implicit memory
    • emotional memory: gradual acceptance of his condition
    • procedural memory: layout of his residence
clapar de study 1911
Claparède study (1911)
  • Claparède was a Swiss physician treating an amnesic woman
  • Patient never remembered having met Claparede (doctor) before
  • Claparade offers handshakes with pinprick
  • Next time, no explicit memory of event
  • Still, patient refuses to shake hands and offers explanation: “sometimes pins are hidden in people’s hands”
amnesiacs and trivia questions
Amnesiacs and Trivia Questions
  • Korsakoff patients were given feedback, then retested.
  • No conscious memory for items but better performance.
  • Their explanation: “I read about it somewhere”

(Schacter, Tulving & Wang, 1981).

can amnesics acquire any new knowledge
Can amnesics acquire any new knowledge?

Declarative memory (memory for information/knowledge, e.g. episodic & semantic memory)

 impaired

Procedural memory (e.g., how to ride a bike)

 yes

Implicit memories (using past information possibly without being aware of it)

 yes

  • Hippocampus and surrounding structures in medial temporal love are responsible for transferring explicit memories from working memory to LTM
  • Separate memory systems:
    • working memory vs. LTM
    • explicit vs. implicit memory
memory the brain
Memory & The Brain
  • Prefrontal cortex: Short term storage of explicit memories
  • Hippocampus: Transfers explicit memories from working memory to LTM
  • Cerebellum: Implicit memories of skills, habits, conditioning