Some Analyses of Amnesic Syndromes in Brain-Damaged Patients

  • Nelson Butters
  • Laird Cermak


The contribution of the hippocampus to the normal operation of human memory processes has been quite clearly delineated by Milner and her collaborators during the past 15 years. These investigators have documented the nature of the memory disorder following injury to the hippocampus and, in addition, have provided support for the dual process theory of memory. Since these investigations are quite well known, only a brief summary of their major findings will be presented here prior to a more thorough discussion of two closely related issues: (1) an analysis of the amnesic disorders of alcoholic Korsakoff patients and (2) an examination of the amnesic syndromes produced by different forms of brain damage. The alcoholic Korsakoff patient is clinically similar to patients with bilateral hippocampal damage but, unlike these patients, he has suffered extensive midline limbic-diencephalic damage involving the nucleus medialis dorsalis and/or mammillary bodies (Victor et al., 1971). Since both of these structures have major anatomical connections with the hippocampus as well as other limbic entities, a thorough behavioral investigation of the amnesia of Korsakoff patients may enrich our understanding of the manner in which various limbic and diencephalic structures interact in the processing of information.


Retention Interval Proactive Interference False Recognition Retrograde Amnesia Amnesic Patient 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nelson Butters
    • 1
  • Laird Cermak
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology ServiceBoston Veterans Administration HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Aphasia Research Unit, Neurology DepartmentBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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