Visual memory loss and autobiographical amnesia: a case study.

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Amnesia typically results from trauma to the medial temporal regions that coordinate activation among the disparate areas of cortex that represent the information that make up autobiographical memories. We proposed that amnesia should also result from damage to these regions, particularly regions that subserve long-term visual memory [Rubin, D. C., & Greenberg, D. L. (1998). Visual memory-deficit amnesia: A distinct amnesic presentation and etiology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 95, 5413-5416]. We previously found 11 such cases in the literature, and all 11 had amnesia. We now present a detailed investigation of one of these patients. M.S. suffers from long-term visual memory loss along with some semantic deficits; he also manifests a severe retrograde amnesia and moderate anterograde amnesia. The presentation of his amnesia differs from that of the typical medial-temporal or lateral-temporal amnesic; we suggest that his visual deficits may be contributing to his autobiographical amnesia.





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Greenberg, Daniel L, Madeline J Eacott, Don Brechin and David C Rubin (2005). Visual memory loss and autobiographical amnesia: a case study. Neuropsychologia, 43(10). pp. 1493–1502. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2004.12.009 Retrieved from

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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.

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