Subjective memory evaluations in patients with focal frontal, diencephalic, and temporal lobe lesion

Cortex. 1998 Apr;34(2):191-207. doi: 10.1016/s0010-9452(08)70747-0.


This paper examines subjective memory evaluations and their correlates in patients with focal frontal, diencephalic, or temporal lobe lesions. Although all patient groups showed significantly lower subjective memory evaluations than healthy subjects, the temporal lobe group rated themselves significantly lower than the frontal lobe or diencephalic groups despite comparable severity of amnesia, implying more severely impaired 'insight' in the latter two groups. There was a 'temporal gradient' such that patients rated their memory for 'old' (premorbid) items better than their memory for 'new' (recent) or prospective items. As in previous studies, subjective memory evaluations were not correlated with measures of 'objective' anterograde memory performance, but the present study suggests that subjective evaluations are not randomly determined. It seemed to be the site of lesion (frontal and/or diencephalic), rather than underlying aetiology, which produced a particularly severe loss of 'insight'. Whether the earliest remote or autobiographical memories were preserved or not appeared to be an important correlate of current subjective memory evaluations, and patients who had been memory-disordered for longer were more likely to evaluate their memory as poor than those with a more recent onset.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Amnestic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Alcohol Amnestic Disorder / psychology
  • Amnesia / physiopathology*
  • Amnesia / psychology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / psychology
  • Diencephalon / physiopathology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*