Irrelevant, incidental and core features in the retrograde amnesia associated with Korsakoff's psychosis: a review

P R Meudell
Behavioural Neurology 1992, 5 (2): 67-74
A brief review of the literature on retrograde amnesia in Korsakoff's syndrome is presented. Various explanations of the phenomenon are discussed including the notions that it results from the effects of "state-dependency", that it occurs as a result of a progressive learning problem and that it arises through a failure in contextual processing. None of these hypotheses can satisfactorily account for the length and temporal gradient of alcoholic amnesics retrograde amnesia. Although some evidence points towards the hypothesis that anterograde and retrograde amnesia might result from separate and independent impairments, this view is presently unproven and leaves open what causes the form and duration of Korsakoffs retrograde amnesia.

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