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Recall and recognition memory in amnesia: Patients with hippocampal, medial temporal, temporal lobe or frontal pathology

By Michael D. Kopelman, Peter Bright, Joseph Buckman, Alex Fradera, Hauro Yoshimasu, Clare Jacobson and Alan C. F. Colchester


The relationship between recall and recognition memory impairments was examined in memory-disordered patients with either hippocampal, medial temporal, more widespread temporal lobe or frontal pathology. The Hirst [Hirst, W., Johnson, M. K., Phelps, E. A., & Volpe, B. T. (1988). More on recognition and recall in amnesics. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 14, 758-762] technique for titrating exposure times was used to match recognition memory performance as closely as possible before comparing recall memory scores. Data were available from two different control groups given differing exposure times. Each of the patient groups showed poorer recall memory performance than recognition scores, proportionate to the difference seen in healthy participants. When patients' scores were converted to Z-scores, there was no significant difference between mean Z-recall and Z-recognition scores. When plotted on a scatterplot, the majority of the data-points indicating disproportionately low recall memory scores came from healthy controls or patients with pathology extending into the lateral temporal lobes, rather than from patients with pathology confined to the medial temporal lobes. Patients with atrophy extending into the parahippocampal gyrus (H+) performed worse than patients with atrophy confined to the hippocampi (H-); but, when H- patients were given a shorter exposure time (5 s) and compared with H+ at a longer exposure (10 s), their performance was virtually identical and did not indicate any disproportionate recall memory impairment in the H- group. Parahippocampal volumes on MRI correlated significantly with both recall and recognition memory. The possibility that findings were confounded by inter-stimulus artefacts was examined and rejected. These findings argue against the view that hippocampal amnesia or memory disorders in general are typically characterised by a disproportionate impairment in recall memory. Disproportionate recall memory impairment has been observed in a number of published cases, and the reason for the varying pattern obtained across hippocampal patients requires further examination

Topics: RC0321, BF
Publisher: Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd.
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.10.005
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