2
$\begingroup$

Episodic memory is defined as the difference between remembering and knowing. Roughly speaking, the criteria for episodic memory is a memory which you remember from a first person vantage point, contains visuals, and is remembered as a specific singular instance.

What would likely effects be of someone losing the ability to access this type of memory, or to process events into memories in this way?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean losing the ability to form new episodic memories, or the ability to access old episodic memories? The former is H.M. (see DesignerAnalyst's answer below), the latter is classic amnesia. Both are different from a hypothetical inability to process current information from a first-person perspective (more interesting/less common/harder to segment, IMO). $\endgroup$ – Krysta Dec 3 '14 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ I took awhile to get back to this question, my apologies. I was asking about losing the ability to access old episodic memories. I hadn't made the connection that this is amnesia, but it makes sense. Thanks for breaking that down @Krysta! $\endgroup$ – Ana Dec 12 '14 at 21:11
1
$\begingroup$

The best evidence for what you are asking comes from amnesic patients. The most famous and most close to the condition you describe was patient H.M.

See below some extracts from wikipedia :

Molaison's general condition has been described as heavy anterograde amnesia, as well as temporally graded retrograde amnesia (Smith & Kosslyn, 2007).Since HM did not show any memory impairment before the surgery, the removal of the medial temporal lobes can be held responsible for his memory disorder. Consequently, the medial temporal lobes can be assumed to be a major component involved in the formation of semantic and episodic long-term memories

...

Despite his amnesic symptoms, Molaison performed quite normally in tests of intellectual ability, indicating that some memory functions (e.g., short-term stores, stores for words, phonemes, etc.) were not impaired by the surgery (Smith & Kosslyn, 2007; Corkin, 2002). However, for sentence-level language comprehension and production, Molaison exhibited the same deficits and sparing as in memory (MacKay, James, Taylor & Marian, 2007).

...

In addition to his intact working memory and intellectual abilities, studies of Molaison's ability to acquire new motor skills demonstrated preserved motor learning (Corkin, 2002). In a study conducted by Milner in the early 1960s, Molaison acquired the new skill of drawing a figure by looking at its reflection in a mirror (Corkin, 2002).

...

Experiments involving repetition priming underscored Molaison's ability to acquire implicit (non-conscious) memories, in contrast to his inability to acquire new explicit semantic and episodic memories (Corkin, 2002).

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.