Disorders within memory

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  • Created on: 13-05-12 12:24

Discuss the disorders within memory

A memory disorder can be defined as a physical condition that prevents a persons ability to encode, recall and/or retain information these can range from mild to sever and can be both permanent and none permanent states. This essay will discuss Amnesia and Alzheimer’s as memory disorders and the theories of how they develop.

Amnesia is a disorder which affects memory and can be defined as either a partial or total loss of memory, either permanently or temporarily. There are two types of Amnesia, anterograde and retrograde. Anterograde is the inability to form new, long term memories whereas Retrograde is the partial or total loss of memories of old events. Amnesia can be caused by external trauma- such as a blow to the head, internal trauma- such as a stroke, exposure to a toxic substance- such as carbon monoxide, an inadequate diet, brain tumours and seizures. Therefore, Amnesia can affect both men and women and can appear at any age.
There are two types of memory, explicit and implicit, explicit memory is when information can be deliberately and consciously recalled, whereas implicit memory is when information is known without any conscious recollection. One explanation of Amnesia, is the loss of explicit memory, suggesting that the amnesia causes the inability to deliberately recall information. Anterograde amnesia was tested on HM, using the golling test. HM was able to recognise partial images, although he had no recollection of doing the test.

P - This explanation for amnesia was supported by Stickgold, in 2000
E - He found that people with normal memory can learn the game “Tetris” within a few hours whereas although people with amnesia can improve, showing implicit memory, they cannot describe how to play it as they have no implicit memory of doing the activity.
C - This therefore suggests that amnesia is caused by loss of explicit memory.

P - Milner supported this explanation for amnesia.
E - Milner was able to teach HM to draw using a mirror, after practice HM has learnt the skill (implicit) but had no memory of ever completing the task (explicit).
C - Therefore supporting the explanation that amnesiacs suffer from explicit memory loss.

P - On the other hand, a criticism of the explanation into amnesia, is that much of the research into both types of amnesia is based on case studies. These


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