Man without a Memory – Clive Wearing

During the learning process information is encoded, then stored and retrieved once needed. The sensory organs receive information from the environment and are stored for a very short period within the sensory cells, by giving attention to this information it is sent into the working memory/short term memory. Information in short-term memory can be held there indefinitely as long as it is rehearsed, and the typical cause for its loss is that it is displacement by the presence of other, new information that has been attended to.
Once received in the working memory/short term memory the information is encoded in our long-term memory by rehearsal or constant repetition of the information. When we need this stored information for future purposes, it is retrieve by recall or recognition. Clive Wearing, the man with no memory, has an unusual case of memory loss in which he is unable to form lasting new memories. Clive Wearing contracting the herpes viral encephalitis that affected his nervous system and resulted in him has retrograde and ante-retrograde amnesia.
Ante-retrograde amnesia means he is unable to form memory of events that have taken place after his illness; he also suffers from retrograde amnesia, which refers to him being unable to remember places, things and events before his illness means he is unable to store memory. The hippocampus and sections of his frontal and temporal lobe are damaged due to the infection. The hippocampus which transfers short-term memory to long term memory is damaged due to the viral infection that affected his nervous system. With this said an account could be given of why he is unable to store new memories.

His memories only last between 7-30 seconds and are therefore only being stored in his short-term memory. Once the 7-30 seconds expires, he cannot recall what he had just experienced or learned. This results in him not storing any new memories during his daily life. Even thou Clive Wearing is unable to form new memories he still has lasting memory of his wife and playing the piano. The fact that he can do this is evidence that different parts of the brain stores different types of memory. The assumption is that the section of his brain responsible for procedural memory (memory of habits) is not damaged hence his ability to playing the piano.

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