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Developmental amnesias: fractionation of developing memory systems

By C. M. Temple and P. Richardson


<p>Study of the developmental amnesias utilizing a cognitive neuropsychological methodology has highlighted the dissociations that may occur between the development of components of memory. M.M., a new case of developmental amnesia, was identified after screening from the normal population on cognitive and memory measures. Retrospective investigation found that he was of low birthweight. M.M. had impaired semantic memory for knowledge of facts and words. There was impaired episodic memory for words and stories but intact episodic memory for visual designs and features. This forms a double dissociation with Dr S. (Temple, 1992), who had intact verbal but impaired visual episodic memory. M.M. also had impaired autobiographical episodic memory. Nevertheless, learning over repeated trials occurred, consistent with previous theorizing that learning is not simply the effect of recurrent episodic memory. Nor is it the same as establishing semantic memory, since for M.M. semantic memory is also impaired. Within reading, there was an impaired lexico-semantic system, elevated levels of homophone confusion, but intact phonological reading, consistent with surface dyslexia and raising issues about the interrelationship of the semantic system and literacy development. The results are compatible with discrete semi-independent components within memory development, whereby deficits are associated with residual normality, but there may also be an explicit relationship between the semantic memory system and both vocabulary and reading acquisition.</p

Year: 2006
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