By C. W. M. Whitty and O. L. Zangwill (Eds.)
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Extra resources for Amnesia. Clinical, Psychological and Medicolegal Aspects
A greater difficulty is the possibility that the amnesic patients did not receive normal exposure to the items constituting the test. Thus, three of the five patients were cases of the alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome and a fourth was a longstanding epileptic. It cannot readily be assumed that, for example, chronic alcoholics pay the same attention to current affairs and currently famous faces as other people. , Korsakoff patients and normal, head-injured and alcoholic controls. In this study amnesic memory was considerably more impaired for recent than for more remote events.
The difficulties encountered by the radical retrieval theory and by the disinhibition hypothesis, encourage a cautious approach to the problem of interference effects in amnesia and suggest that we may be on safer ground when we consider these effects as observations requiring explanation than when we consider interference as a theoretical construct which may be used to explain other amnesic phenomena. AMNESIA OR AMNESIAS? In the introduction to this chapter it was pointed out that different workers have used quite different criteria for the selection of amnesic patients to be studied and that this could be a source of apparently conflicting findings concerning what amnesic patients can and cannot do.
However, it must be remembered that, in the form in which it is most often presented nowadays, the retrieval theory postulates that defective retrieval is the consequence of excessive proactive interference (Warrington and Weiskrantz, 1973). This notion has an interesting parallel in theories of normal forgetting. Interference has long been regarded by many theorists as a primary and possibly sole cause of normal forgetting. A thorough-going interference theory of forgetting has however run into very considerable difficulties in recent years (Postman, 1969) and many consider that the role of interference in forgetting cannot now be formulated without careful reference to organizational factors.
Amnesia. Clinical, Psychological and Medicolegal Aspects by C. W. M. Whitty and O. L. Zangwill (Eds.)