Developmental amnesia: a new pattern of dissociation with intact episodic memory

TEMPLE, C. M. and RICHARDSON, P. (2004). Developmental amnesia: a new pattern of dissociation with intact episodic memory. Neuropsychologia, 42 (6), 764-781.

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A case of developmental amnesia is reported for a child, CL, of normal intelligence, who has intact episodic memory but impaired semantic memory for both semantic knowledge of facts and semantic knowledge of words, including general world knowledge, knowledge of word meanings and superordinate knowledge of words. In contrast to the deficits in semantic memory, there are no impairments in episodic memory for verbal or visual material, assessed by recall or recognition. Lexical decision was also intact, indicating impairment in semantic knowledge of vocabulary rather than absence of lexical representations. The case forms a double dissociation to the cases of Vargha-Khadem et al. [Science 277 (1997) 376; Episodic memory: new directions in research (2002) 153]; Gadian et al. [Brain 123 (2000) 499] for whom semantic memory was intact but episodic memory was impaired. This double dissociation suggests that semantic memory and episodic memory have the capacity to develop separately and supports models of modularity within memory development and a functional architecture for the developmental disorders within which there is residual normality rather than pervasive abnormality. Knowledge of arithmetical facts is also spared for CL, consistent with adult studies arguing for numeracy knowledge distinct from other semantics. Reading was characterised by difficulty with irregular words and homophones but intact reading of nonwords. CL has surface dyslexia with poor lexico-semantic reading skills but good phonological reading skills. The case was identified following screening from a population of normal schoolchildren suggesting that developmental amnesias may be more pervasive than has been recognised previously.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: children, developmental disorders, surface dyslexia, dysmnesia, semantic memory, numeracy
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Psychology Research Group
Identification Number:
Page Range: 764-781
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 21:45

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