Memory for object locations in Korsakoff's amnesia

R P Kessels, A Postma, A J Wester, E H de Haan
Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior 2000, 36 (1): 47-57
Deficits in spatial context memory are an important characteristic of Korsakoff's amnesia. In memory for spatial context information, there is evidence for a functional dissociation of three separate processes: (1) binding of object information to locations (i.e. binding complex memories), (2) exact, metric processing of Euclidean co-ordinates, and (3) an integration mechanism. In the present study, these sub-mechanisms were assessed experimentally in a group of Korsakoff patients (N = 20) and compared to healthy controls (N = 20) to see whether selective deficits can be demonstrated. It was found that Korsakoff patients display deficits on all three spatial-memory conditions, which are not the primary result of deficits in visuo-spatial construction and memory for object identity. No evidence for selective impairments could be observed. These impairments can be linked to damage of diencephalic regions and perhaps the parietal cortex.

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