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Amnesia

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The musician Clive Wearing suffered brain damage through illness and now has no long-term memory, experiencing life only in fragments of seconds or minutes, through short-term memory.  His wife maintains that his intelligence and personality remain intact, and that he has learned to adapt to his care home; he has, however, no "access through the gatekeeper circuit to memory for the events of his life".


 (Russell A Dewey, 2007)

Watch these two short video clips:


Clive Wearing plays piano despite memory deficit
Even though Clive Wearing cannot remember people or events, his piano-playing skills are intact.
http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/media/wearing_piano-lg.mov

Clive Wearing: A man without memory
Clive Wearing has lost his ability to remember and lives in a perpetual state of having just awoken.
http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/media/wearing-lg.mov

What does this disability tell us about learning?

 

ANSWERS

What does this disability tell us about learning?

Short-term memory cannot support learning; long-term memory is essential to store and structure experience.

For further explanation, listen to neuroscience lecture Making Your Mind: Molecules, Motion, and Memory by Dr Eric Kandel, starting at point 4 (Learning and memory).

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