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The Man Without a Memory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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The Man without a Memory
October 31, 2011
Dr. B

The Man without a Memory
Relationship between Learning Something and Remembering it
Learning is when we are able to attain a particular skill or piece of knowledge, and remembering takes place when you are able to utilize that knowledge or skill right away without having to go through the monotonous process of learning it (Carlson, 2010). Once the skill is learned it is stored in short-term memory and then once it is practiced often it is stored into long-term memory available for retrieval and instant application (Carlson, 2010).
For example, in order to learn how to ride a bike you constantly practice being able to steady yourself while pushing the peddles in order to move forward. By the time you learn how to ride the bike you have practiced the skill so much that it is imprinted in your long term memory.
Region of Brain Damaged
The area of the brain that was damaged is the hippocampus; this was due to the total amnesia that was a result from his illness. The hippocampus is the region of the brain that relocates memories from the short-term memory to the long-term memory. “Wearing is not capable of forming new memories because his memory only last between 7 and 30 seconds” (MedLibrary, 2002, p. 1).
Loss of Memory for Things
Wearing only has moment –to-moment consciousness because he has not only retrograde amnesia but also anterograde amnesia, Wearing can still remember how to play the piano and conduct a choir, but he has no memories of receiving an education in music. Wearing can play the piano but once he stops he has not memory that he played and starts to shake intermittently. This shaking is a physical sign of the lack of ability to control his emotions. According to Medlibrary (2002) “Wearing’s brain is still trying to fire information in the form of action potentials to neurostructures that no longer exist” (p. 1.). “The resulting encephalic electrical disturbance leads to fits” (MedLibrary, 2002, p. 1).
What Memories would you Miss the Most
Most people would explain that the memories they would miss the most if they were to lose their memory would be the memories where emotions ran high. People rely on being able to revert back to happier times such as the birth of a child, wedding days, great times that they have had with their friends and family, and even being able to associate the taste sensations that food can give. People can be oblivious to how much they rely on their memories to give them comfort, or help them in undesirable situations. Being able to remember and retrieve memories and things that we have learned can be crucial to our mental health and survival.
How are Emotions Linked to Memories
According to Carlson (2010) emotions help memories be stored more thoroughly and detailed through the encoding process. During an emotionally charged event in life the emotions activate neuro-chemical activity in the brain that is responsible for encoding and recalling (Carlson, 2010).
Carlson (2010) explains that this is why events where adrenaline was triggered and the fight or flight response was activated can be remembered in more detail as it tightens blood vessels, raises heart rate, and expands air passages which helps you think clearer in times where self preservation may be needed.



Carlson, N.R. (2010) Physiology of behavior, 10th ed., Boston, MA, Allyn & Bacon.

Medlibrary. (2002). Clive Wearing. Retrieved from

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