A case of simulated, psychogenic or focal pure retrograde amnesia: Did an entire life become unconscious?

R. Barbarotto, M. Laiacona, G. Cocchini

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Abstract

A case of pure retrograde amnesia following mild head injury is reported. Neuropsychological, psychodynamic and statistical approaches are employed in an attempt to disentangle the clinical picture presented by the patient. Focal retrograde amnesia, psychogenic retrograde amnesia and simulated amnesia are all taken into account. From a public events questionnaire and an inquiry about famous people, consistency analyses showed that the patient was able implicitly to use information she denied having, but at the same time, made us lower the probability of a simulated amnesia. Moreover, psychodynamic analysis showed that the patient's personality structure was compatible with hysterical patterns and we suggest that the patient's memory defect may be related to her personality. It seems less likely, though still possible, that the case may be explained in terms of deliberate simulation. In this case we conclude that the classification along the conscious/unconscious dimension seems more informative than the contrast between psychogenic and organic genesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-585
Number of pages11
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996

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Keywords

  • Retrograde amnesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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