Memory and Amnesia

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Memory and Amnesia

These lectures are about why and how we learn, what happens in our brain when we learn and how understanding the basic principles of learning can shape our behaviour. The lectures will illustrate also how and why we forget, and what happens when we forget too much. Finally, the lectures will touch upon the issue of how imperfect our memories are and what we could do to improve our retention.

Please note that these lectures are not recorded. 

Lecture 40:
How we learn
We are almost constantly learning. How does this happen? Can we learn without noticing? Which bits and bolts of the brain allow us to learn?
50 George Sq, Lecture Theatre G.03
Monday, 20 January, 2020 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 41:
How and why we forget
Forgetting has a bad publicity, yet we need to forget in order to learn new stuff. Can we forget on purpose?
50 George Sq, Lecture Theatre G.03
Tuesday, 21 January, 2020 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 42:
Pathological forgetting
We have learned that a particular cognitive function be spared/impaired relative to other cognitive functions. Within the domain of memory this means that several dissociations could be observed. Individual single case can present with deficits in one type of memory while other types are spared. We have discussed the dissociation between episodic and semantic memory and the distinction between anterograde and retrograde amnesia. We have further learned that different brain areas may be responsible for different aspects of memory, hence different lesions may result in different patterns of spared and impaired memory functions. In lecture 3 we will address the dissociation between short and long term memory. We have learned that our memories are unreliable, hence we need to define normality within imperfect systems to be able to diagnose a pathological memory deficit. To make the case of unreliability of memory we have discussed the errors in Eyewitness testimony, and understood that the brain reconstructs events, it is an organ of re-presentation. We will also discuss the issue of Forgetting and how this should not be conceived as the opposite of remembering, rather as functional to remembering, unless it becomes pathological.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Thursday, 23 January, 2020 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 43:
The different types of memory
Memory is an umbrella term which encompasses several different cognitive processes.
50 George Sq, Lecture Theatre G.03
Monday, 27 January, 2020 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 44:
The pitfalls of recollection
We learn and we forget, but often we remember wrongly. Learning is a highly flawed system.
50 George Sq, Lecture Theatre G.03
Tuesday, 28 January, 2020 - 11:10 to 12:00
Lecture 45:
Learning and retaining
Some techniques may help us learning and retaining what we have learned better.
David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre C
Thursday, 30 January, 2020 - 11:10 to 12:00

Essential readings:

Baddeley, A.D, Eysenck, M.W. & Anderson, M.C. (2015). Memory (2nd edition). Psychology Press. (chapter 5 on Learning, pp. 107-136).

Roediger, H.L., Weinstein, Y., and Agarwal, P. K. (2010) Forgetting : preliminary consideration. In Della Sala, S. (Ed.), Forgetting. (pp. 1-22). New York, NY, US: Psychology Press

Ward, J. (2015). The student's guide to cognitive neuroscience. Psychology Press (chapter 9 on The remembering brain, pp. 195-230).