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Epilepsy Behav. 2011 May;21(1):36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2011.02.022. Epub 2011 Apr 8.

Autobiographical memory and the self in a case of transient epileptic amnesia.

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Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.


Transient epileptic amnesia (TEA) is characterized by deficits in autobiographical memory (AM). One of the functions of AM is to maintain the self, suggesting that the self may undergo changes as a result of memory loss in temporal lobe epilepsy. To examine this, we used a modification of a task used to assess the relationship between self and memory (the IAM task) in a single case, E.B. Despite complaints of AM loss, E.B. had no difficulty in producing a range of self-images (e.g., I am a husband) and collections of self-defining AMs in support of these statements. E.B. produced fewer episodic memories at times of self-formation, but this did not seem to impact on the maintenance of self. The results support recent work suggesting the self may be maintained in the absence of episodic memory. The application of tasks such as that used here will further elucidate AM impairment in temporal lobe epilepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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