H.M.'s personal crossword puzzles: understanding memory and language.

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The amnesic patient H.M. has been solving crossword puzzles nearly all his life. Here, we analysed the linguistic content of 277 of H.M.'s crossword-puzzle solutions. H.M. did not have any unusual difficulties with the orthographic and grammatical components inherent to the puzzles. He exhibited few spelling errors, responded with appropriate parts of speech, and provided answers that were, at times, more convincing to observers than those supplied by the answer keys. These results suggest that H.M.'s lexical word-retrieval skills remain fluid despite his profound anterograde amnesia. Once acquired, the maintenance of written language comprehension and production does not seem to require intact medial temporal lobe structures.





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Skotko, Brian G, David C Rubin and Larry A Tupler (2008). H.M.'s personal crossword puzzles: understanding memory and language. Memory, 16(2). pp. 89–96. 10.1080/09658210701864580 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10084.

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David C. Rubin

Juanita M. Kreps Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory and oral traditions, as well as prose. I have also studied memory as it is more commonly done in experimental psychology laboratories using lists. In addition to this purely behavioral research, which I plan to continue, I work on memory in clinical populations with the aid of a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study PTSD and on the underlying neural basis of memory the aid of a National Institute of Aging grant to study autobiographical memory using fMRI.


Larry A. Tupler

Associate Consulting Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

My principal research interest concerns brain-behavior relationships, both in
normals and in psychiatric populations. Methods of study include magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS), neuropsychological
investigations, psychopharmacological studies, cognitive-science paradigms,
and methodological inquiries. More specifically, topics of interest include
lesion and morphometric studies of discrete brain regions as they relate to
cognitive and other behavioral measures, pharmacodynamics, pharmacotherapy,
and psychometric investigations of reliability and validity. Gerontological
populations are of particular interest in relation to both normal and abnormal
aging, particularly dementia (e.g., Alzheimer's disease and vascular
dementia). Psychiatric disorders of particular interest include mood and
anxiety disorders.

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