Functional retrograde amnesia: A multiple case study
Functional retrograde amnesia (RA) is a rare pathology and has been rarely studied in detail across different patients. We extensively examined five functional RA patients and compared their neuropsychological profile including anterograde and retrograde memory performance, executive functions, emotional processing, and formally assessed psychiatric symptoms. Across patients, neuropsychological deficits beyond RA were most consistently seen in executive functions and attention suggesting that these dysfunctions contribute to the remote memory deficit. In a majority of the patients, problems in social cognition and emotional behaviour were reflected in Theory of Mind deficits and accompanying psychiatric symptoms. Aberrances in a measure of social desirability were detected, pointing to repressive tendencies in three out of the five patients. Future studies of functional RA patients may investigate more specifically which frontal-lobe associated (dys-) functions contribute to the memory retrieval deficit. Moreover, studying more closely the interaction between social cognition, repressive personality style and memory inhibition in this disease seems worthwhile pursuing.
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