On remembering and forgetting our autobiographical pasts: Retrograde amnesia and Andrew Mayes’s contribution to neuropsychological method

Kopelman, Michael D. and Bright, P. (2012) On remembering and forgetting our autobiographical pasts: Retrograde amnesia and Andrew Mayes’s contribution to neuropsychological method. Neuropsychologia. ISSN 0028-3932

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Abstract

Andrew Mayes’s contribution to the neuropsychology of memory has consisted in steadily teasing out the nature of the memory deficit in the amnesic syndrome. This has been done with careful attention to matters of method at all stages. This particularly applies to his investigations of forgetting rates in amnesia and to his studies of retrograde amnesia. Following a brief outline of his work, the main current theories of retrograde amnesia are considered: consolidation theory, episodic-to-semantic shift theory, and multiple trace theory. Findings across the main studies in Alzheimer dementia are reviewed to illustrate what appears to be consistently found, and what is much more inconsistent. A number of problems and issues in current theories are then highlighted—including the nature of the temporal gradient, correlations with the extent of temporal lobe damage, what we would expect ‘normal’ remote memory curves to look like, how they would appear in focal retrograde amnesia, and whether we can pinpoint retrograde amnesia to hippocampal/medial temporal damage on the basis of existing studies. A recent study of retrograde amnesia is re-analysed to demonstrate temporal gradients on recollected episodic memories in hippocampal/medial temporal patients. It is concluded that there are two requirements for better understanding of the nature of retrograde amnesia: (i) a tighter, Mayesian attention to method in terms of both the neuropsychology and neuroimaging in investigations of retrograde amnesia; and (ii) acknowledging that there may be multiple factors underlying a temporal gradient, and that episodic and semantic memory show important interdependencies at both encoding and retrieval. Such factors may be critical to understanding what is remembered and what is forgotten from our autobiographical pasts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Citation: Kopelman, M.D. and Bright, P., 2012. On remembering and forgetting our autobiographical pasts: Retrograde amnesia and Andrew Mayes’s contribution to neuropsychological method. Neuropsychologia, 50(13), pp.2961-2972..
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology
Depositing User: Mr I Walker
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2013 11:01
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2016 12:51
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/302192

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