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Psychology and biology of memory 

Psychology and biology of memory
Chapter:
Psychology and biology of memory
Author(s):

Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg

and Terry E. Goldberg

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0032
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date: 15 September 2019

Memory is the ability to store, retain, and retrieve information. This cognitive function plays a key role in psychiatry. Dementia and the amnesic disorders have memory dysfunction as a defining feature. Intrusive and recurrent emotional memories are one of the most distressing symptoms in post-traumatic stress disorder. Although not as obvious, problems with memory are also commonly revealed on testing in schizophrenia. Remembered episodes are often a focus in psychotherapy, as is the acquisition of new habits and response patterns. An ability to understand and assess memory is therefore important for the practising psychiatrist. In this chapter, basic neurobiological and psychological information on memory will be reviewed. We have tried to cover a very broad field in a concise manner and give the interested reader a sense of the key memory systems and subsystems that are thought to be important for human information processing in health and in disease. We have emphasized the conceptual over the theoretical and key findings over the experimental details where possible. At times, we have not carefully separated the cognitive and neuroanatomical levels of analysis, both because they are sometimes almost inextricably bound and because it made our explanations clearer not to do so. Necessarily but not happily, we have omitted many important and active areas of investigation.

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