Visual memory loss and autobiographical amnesia: a case study

Neuropsychologia. 2005;43(10):1493-502. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2004.12.009. Epub 2005 Feb 8.


Amnesia typically results from trauma to the medial temporal regions that coordinate activation among the disparate areas of cortex that represent the information that make up autobiographical memories. We proposed that amnesia should also result from damage to these regions, particularly regions that subserve long-term visual memory [Rubin, D. C., & Greenberg, D. L. (1998). Visual memory-deficit amnesia: A distinct amnesic presentation and etiology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 95, 5413-5416]. We previously found 11 such cases in the literature, and all 11 had amnesia. We now present a detailed investigation of one of these patients. M.S. suffers from long-term visual memory loss along with some semantic deficits; he also manifests a severe retrograde amnesia and moderate anterograde amnesia. The presentation of his amnesia differs from that of the typical medial-temporal or lateral-temporal amnesic; we suggest that his visual deficits may be contributing to his autobiographical amnesia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amnesia / complications*
  • Amnesia / diagnosis
  • Amnesia / physiopathology
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / complications
  • Encephalitis / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Vision Disorders / complications*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Visual Perception*