Nature of Memory

  • Aman U. Khan
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


The ancient Greeks portrayed memory in their mythology as the goddess Mnemosyne. Zeus was the supreme god of the ancient Greeks and through Mnemosyne he fathered nine daughters who were called the Muses and who were the patron saints of the various arts. Plato (427–347 BC) described memory as a block of wax, which was of different sizes in different men and which also differed in hardness, moistness, and purity. Aristotle (384–322 BC) assigned the memory function to the heart. From Aristotle we still have the expression “learned by heart.” Erasistratus (310–250 BC) doubted Aristotle’s ideas about memory. He performed the first dissections of the brain and concluded that the brain was the seat of mental functions, including memory.


Memory Trace Memory Consolidation Retrograde Amnesia Association Cortex Sensory Memory 
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aman U. Khan
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Illinois University School of MedicineSpringfieldUSA

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