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Chapter 15 Study Questions
1. What is the multiple memory systems perspective? What are some examples?
The multiple memory systems perspective is the idea that memories are sorted and
stored in specific brain regions depending on the content of the experience. This
idea is supported by the fact that people with damage to regions of the brain
responsible for some types of memory can still learn, retain, and express other types
of memory. For example, patient H.M. could not form new memories of facts and
events, but could learn and remember the mirror tracing task (but could not
remember having done the task before!).
2. Why does Claparède’s experiment support the multiple memory view?
Claparède concealed a pin in his hand and then shook hands with a patient with
amnesia, who then quickly withdrew her hand in pain. A few minutes later
Claparède offered his hand to the patient again, but the patient resisted shaking it.
However, the patient could not give any idea of why she was suspicious of shaking
his hand.
This example indicates that brain regions that support our ability to recall episodes
are not needed to establish emotional based behavioral responses.
3. Provide evidence that supports the following statement: the memory system that
supports skillful behaviors is outside of the region of the brain that supports our ability to
recollect the training episodes.
Patients such as H.M. can learn and improve on a perceptual/motor task (the
mirror tracing task) but did not recall the training trials.
4. Who is Brenda Milner and what was her contribution to the study of memory?
Brenda Milner was the neuropsychologist who spent many years working with H.M.
(Henry Molaison) and presented her results to the scientific community. She
observed that he had extremely impaired anterograde amnesia, but could retain
some short-term memories if he was not distracted.
5. Who is Henry Molaison? Why is his case so important in the study of memory?
Henry Molaison was long known as H.M., an amnesia patient who had massively
impaired anterograde memories after surgery for intractable epilepsy. The parts of
his brain that were removed was well known, which allowed researchers to better
understand what brain areas are responsible for memory. He provided the
foundation for the theory of multiple memory systems because his anterograde and
retrograde amnesia were restricted to certain kinds of content.
6. Describe the extent of H.M.’s brain damage.
His medial temporal lobes were removed, including the hippocampus, amygdala,
and some of the surrounding regions of the underlying neocortex (perirhinal cortex
and parahippocampus).
7. Why is it difficult to develop an animal model of episodic memory?
Since episodic memory supports conscious recollection in humans, it is hard to tell if
the particular tasks researchers use really measure episodic memory in animals.
8. What are the two strategies used to study the brain regions that support episodic
memory?
One way is using animal models, and creating lesions or otherwise inactivating
specific brain regions and assessing the memory deficits produced by these
manipulations. The other is by using patients with specific brain damage, for
example people with damage to the hippocampus, and assessing their memory.
9. How are the problems with the animal model overcome? Describe the DNMS task. Are
the results found in monkeys consistent with the results from experiments with human
subjects? Provide an explanation.
The delayed matching to sample task (DMST) can be used so that conscious
recollection can be assessed in animals. This is done by showing the animal an
object, and then later asking the animal to choose between that object and a new
object. If it chooses the new object, it is rewarded. There are two features of this
task: 1) new objects are used on every trial; and 2) the experimenter can vary the
interval between the sample and the choice trial. Animal tests showed that medial
temporal lobe lesions impaired performance, but only if the rhinal cortex was
damaged. In humans, extensive damage to the hippocampus impairs performance.
10. If the DNMS recognition memory task depends on the hippocampus, then why is it
possible for monkeys with damage to the hippocampus to perform well on it?
It is possible that monkeys are using familiarity of the object to recognize it, rather
than recollection of the object, in order to learn the task.
11. Describe the difference between the familiarity-based and recollection-based
interpretations of recognition.
Recognition based on recollection relies on the episodic memory system via the
hippocampus, whereas recognition based on familiarity does not.