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Knowledge of oneself is preserved in many memory-impaired individuals with neurological damage. Therefore, cognitive strategies that capitalize on mechanisms related to the self may be particularly effective at enhancing memory in this population. The present study investigated the effect of “self-imagining,” imagining an event from a personal perspective, on short and long delayed cued recall in memory-impaired individuals with neurological damage. Sixteen patients intentionally encoded word pairs under four separate conditions: visual imagery, semantic elaboration, other person imagining, and self-imagining. The results revealed that self-imagining led to better performance than other-imagining, semantic elaboration, and visual imagery. Furthermore, the “self-imagination effect” (SIE) was preserved after a 30-min delay and was independent of memory functioning. These findings indicate that self-imagining provides a mnemonic advantage in brain-injured individuals, even those with relatively poor memory functioning, and suggest that self-imagining may tap into mnemonic mechanisms related to the self. (JINS, 2011, 17, 929–933)
The most extensively described pathological abnormality in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the ventral tegmental area, with degeneration of their striatal terminals. Because of the intimate connections between the striatum and the frontal lobes, individuals with PD often demonstrate impairments on those tasks relying on the prefrontal cortex (e.g., tests of executive functioning). Source memory, or memory for context, is believed to rely on the prefrontal cortex and has been previously associated with executive functioning performance, although it has received little attention in the PD literature. Executive functioning and source memory were measured in a group of nondemented PD patients and healthy control participants. Within the PD group, an anti-Parkinson’s medication withdrawal manipulation was used to examine whether source memory was affected by phasic changes in dopamine levels. Compared to healthy control participants, PD patients were impaired in source memory (both on- and off-medication) and on a composite measure of executive functioning. Within the PD group, medication administration improved motor performance but did not have a significant effect on source memory. (JINS, 2009, 15, 399–406.)
The purpose of this study was to compare a mnemonic strategy based on concept-driven processing and explicit memory (i.e., verbal elaboration and imagery) to one based on data-driven processing and implicit memory (the method of vanishing cues) in a names and faces learning task. A third training condition that used video presentation was also included. Six American and six German patients with memory impairment attributable to brain injuries of different etiologies attempted to learn the associations between names and faces in each of the three conditions. The mnemonic strategy proved to be the most effective. Discussion focuses on the characteristics of the training procedures and on the nature of the to-be-learned materials as critical determinants of the effectiveness of different training techniques. (JINS, 1995, 1, 29–38.)
In recent years, edited books presenting unusual case
studies of neuropsychological disorders have appeared
in the literature with increasing frequency. In general,
I have found these books to be fascinating, illustrating
the seemingly endless variety of ways in which damage to
the nervous system can affect the cognitive functioning
and the day-to-day lives of previously normal individuals.
These volumes, which focus on the uniqueness or specificity
of an individual neuropsychological deficit rather than
on the commonality of dysfunction across individuals, always
include at least some cases that are unlike any that I
have previously encountered and almost always present some
real surprises—cases that seem to defy easy explanation
in terms of existing theories. In these respects, Case
Studies in the Neuropsychology of Memory, edited by
Alan Parkin, is no exception. The descriptions of the cases
reported in the 10 chapters of this book are unique and
intriguing. They are presented as stand-alone case studies
without any cross-referencing to other cases in the book,
which highlights their uniqueness. There is little in the
way of editorial intrusion. A brief introduction tells
us what to expect, provides some rationale for the selection
of cases that appear in the book, and includes a sentence
or two of the accepted theory that may be challenged by
the reported case studies.
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