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The Remains of the Day in Dissociative Amnesia
Physiological Psychology, University of Bielefeld, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 January 2012; in revised form: 29 February 2012 / Accepted: 22 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Abstract: Memory is not a unity, but is divided along a content axis and a time axis, respectively. Along the content dimension, five long-term memory systems are described, according to their hierarchical ontogenetic and phylogenetic organization. These memory systems are assumed to be accompanied by different levels of consciousness. While encoding is based on a hierarchical arrangement of memory systems from procedural to episodic-autobiographical memory, retrieval allows independence in the sense that no matter how information is encoded, it can be retrieved in any memory system. Thus, we illustrate the relations between various long-term memory systems by reviewing the spectrum of abnormalities in mnemonic processing that may arise in the dissociative amnesia—a condition that is usually characterized by a retrieval blockade of episodic-autobiographical memories and occurs in the context of psychological trauma, without evidence of brain damage on conventional structural imaging. Furthermore, we comment on the functions of implicit memories in guiding and even adaptively molding the behavior of patients with dissociative amnesia and preserving, in the absence of autonoetic consciousness, the so-called “internal coherence of life”.
Keywords: autonoetic consciousness; anoetic consciousness; priming; procedural memory; episodic-autobiographical memory; psychogenic amnesia
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Staniloiu, A.; Markowitsch, H.J. The Remains of the Day in Dissociative Amnesia. Brain Sci. 2012, 2, 101-129.
Staniloiu A, Markowitsch HJ. The Remains of the Day in Dissociative Amnesia. Brain Sciences. 2012; 2(2):101-129.
Staniloiu, Angelica; Markowitsch, Hans J. 2012. "The Remains of the Day in Dissociative Amnesia." Brain Sci. 2, no. 2: 101-129.