Disorders of memory

Introduction and amnesia

  • Memory helps to make us who we are. People with amnesia are unable to recognise peoples faces, name them and recall that they were ever familiar. Alzheimers diease causes cognitive problems such as confusion, hallucinaitons and emmory loss.
  • Loss of explicit memory. Explicit memory - information is deliberately and consciously recalled. Implicit - recollection is independant of conscious awareness.
  • Stickgold et al (2000) - particpants play tetris. Those with normal memory learn game in few hours and describe it. Amnesiacs learnt it butcant recall playing it nor describe it. Have no explicit memory of the game. Issues with ethics - psychological harm.
  • Different types of LTM. Procudural - motor skill (knowing how). Daclaritive - fact related (knowing what). As amnesicals have unimparied implicit memory, it describes why they thye near-normal performance of procedural tasks. E.g. HM's minor drawing skill illustrates this. Issues with ethics and generalisability as case study.
  • Inability to consolidate new memories. Anterograde - inability to form new LTM. Retrograde - loss of memory of past events. As many amnesiacs have both indicating they are caused by the same area of the brain.
  • Gabriele (1998) - damage to CA1 in hippocampus caused anterograde amnesia alone. Shows amnesiacs have damage to mroe than one part of the brain. However, ethics.
  • Remondes and Schman (2004) - rats with damage to hippocampus could learn maze but quickly forgot. Suggests hippocampus associated with consolidation. Ungeneralisable.
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Alzheimers and conclusion

  • Plaques and tangles - B-amyloid builds up in spaces between neurones in brain stopping communcition.
  • Benson et al (2002) - people with alzheimers are less alert as plaques form in folds of cerebral cortex causing them to largen.
  • Cummings et al (1996) - dogs deposit more B-amyloid with age which correlates with cognitive dysfuncion. Support plaques approach but has issues with generalisability.
  • Another explanation is genes.
  • Lott (1982) - people with downs syndrome have an extra chromosome and develop early AD. Conclude that AD caused by gene mutations. However, ungeneralisable as few people with down syndorm live to 'middle age'. Small sample.
  • St George-Hyslop (2000) - out of all AD patients, only half have known relatives that are sufferers. Suggests little genetic influence. However ethics - informed consent, privacy, psyhcological harm.
  • In conclusion, 2 explanaitons for amnesia and 2 expalnaitons for AD. All have strengths and weaknesses with supportive and contridicotry evidence, arguing why their approach is the best.
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