An Interpretation of a Lacuna: Retrograde Amnesia
Amnesia is a deficit in memory caused by psychological trauma, disease, or brain damage. This results in a gap in memory prior the development of the amnesia. However, in a case of retrograde amnesia, procedural memory remains intact allowing further learning of new knowledge. This type of amnesia can be temporally graded or permanent based on the severity of the cause (The Human Memory 2010). Although, in often cases, it is temporally graded which allows the amnesiac to be able to access remote memories rather than recall events prior to the trauma.
I find this interesting as we all subconsciously rely on memory to be able to function or make choices based on built preferences over our lifetime. Sometimes you forget things but then it will come back to you but amnesiacs cannot fulfil the void. You can have retrograde amnesia after being heavily induced with alcohol but the memory that remains un-recalled is only for a short period of time. It does not compare to the gap of those who have amnesia who are not subject to the revisions of experience. Memory loss can be subjective or categorical and manifested by ones ability to remember events related to a specific incident or topic (David Levitin 2012). Where you went to school, who your friends were, all the things you’ve done and all the things you’ve always hoped to do – imagine having to forget that. As a human you have the ability to have preferences through accumulated memory, this is what defines and shapes you as a person with character. Amnesiacs are deemed to be more worried about the loss of self more than the loss of memory (David Levitin 2012). How you became who you are and who you wanted to be have now become a grey area in which amnesiacs will have to piece together to fill a gap of who they used to be.
There is no cure for retrograde amnesia, however “jogging” the memory of the amnesiac will often speed up the rate of recall (The Human Memory 2010). Although those living with amnesia may have some difficulty recalling certain things, many still manage to accomplish many feats due to their functional aspects intact which are necessary to maintaining and living a “normal” everyday life.
- The Human Memory 2010, Retrograde Amnesia, viewed 17 March 2017,<http://www.human-memory.net/disorders_retrograde.html>.
- David Levitin 2012, Amnesia and the Self That Remains When Memory Is Lost, The Atlantic, Washington DC, viewed 17 March 2017,<https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/amnesia-and-the-self-that-remains-when-memory-is-lost/266662/>.