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Neurocase. 2009 Oct;15(5):405-18. doi: 10.1080/13554790902849164. Epub 2009 Apr 21.

Autobiographical memory and amnesia: using conceptual knowledge to ground the self.

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  • 1Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.


A case of retrograde amnesia, PJM, elucidated the relationship between self, episodic memory and autobiographical knowledge. Results from a variety of measures including the I Am Memory Task (IAM Task), where memories are cued by self-generated self concepts, demonstrate that PJM has a coherent, continuous sense of self, despite having lost episodic memories for an 18-month period. Her use of conceptual autobiographical knowledge, in episodic tasks and to support aspects of identity, shows how autobiographical knowledge can support the self when episodic memories are inaccessible. These results are discussed with relation to current neuropsychological models of self and memory.

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