Mr. Thompson’s Issues Regarding Identity in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

578 WordsFeb 19, 20182 Pages
In Chapter 12 of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Mr. William Thompson suffered from an extreme case of Korsakov’s, also known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (Sacks, 1985, p. 109). According to Anderson (2010), Korsakoff syndrome can cause serious damage to one’s hippocampus and temporal lobe due to habitual alcoholism, resulting in amnesia (p. 201). Similar to HM (Anderson, 2010, p. 200), Mr. Thompson suffered from anterograde amnesia and could remember nothing for more than a few brief moments (Sacks, p. 109). Anderson (2010) states that anterograde amnesia results in the incapability of creating new memories, leading to fractional or absolute inability to remember something that just happened (p. 201). Yet, one’s long-term memories before the incident remain intact; such as when Mr. Thompson recognized his younger brother, Bob, as he walked by the window (Sacks, 1985, p. 112-113). Mr. Thompson and HM both suffered from anterograde amnesia and could remember some long-term memories but not remember new ones, signifying that the neural makeup involved in making fresh memories are diverse from maintaining past memories (Anderson, 2010, p. 202). Because of his anterograde amnesia, Mr. Thompson suffered from declarative memory loss; however, his nondeclarative and procedural memories appeared to be preserved. I believe that Mr. Thompson suffered from an impairment of episodic memory and retained his semantic memories because he could reflect common knowledge of the

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