Amnesia is a general term that refers to a serious memory deficit typically associated with medial temporal lobe or diencephalic lesions. Reference to amnesia implies a memory impairment in the absence of, or out of proportion to, deficits in other intellectual domains, such as problem solving or general cognitive function.

Keywords: korsakoff syndrome; explicit memory; implicit memory; short‐term memory; temporal gradients

Further Reading

Butters N and Cermak LS (1986) A case study of the forgetting of autobiographical knowledge: Implications for the study of retrograde amnesia. In: Rubin DC (ed.) Autobiographical Memory, pp. 253–272. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Corkin S (1984) Lasting consequences of bilateral medial temporal lobectomy: Clinical course and experimental findings in H.M. Seminars in Neurology 4: 249–259.

Eich E, Macaulay D, Loewenstein RJ and Dihle PH (1997) Memory, amnesia, and dissociative identity disorder. Psychological Science 8: 417–422.

Eichenbaum H (1997) Declarative memory: Insights from cognitive neurobiology. Annual Review of Psychology 48: 547–572.

Moscovitch M and Winocur G (1992) The neuropsychology of memory and aging. In: Craik FIM and Salthouse TA (eds) The Handbook of Aging and Cognition, pp. 315–372. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Penfield W and Milner B (1958) Memory deficit produced by lateral lesions in the hippocampal zone. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 79: 475–497.

Schacter DL and Buckner RL (1998) Priming and the brain. Neuron 20: 185–195.

Schacter DL (1999) The seven sins of memory: Insights from psychology and cognitive neuroscience. American Psychologist 54: 182–203.

Squire LR, Knowlton B and Musen G (1993) The structure and organization of memory. Annual Review of Psychology 44: 453–495.

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How to Cite close
Wingfield, Arthur, and Cronin‐Golomb, Alice(Jan 2003) Amnesia. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000012]