Narrative Construction in Episodic Amnesia

Narrative Construction in Episodic Amnesia

Narrative Construction in Episodic Amnesia

Nazim Keven (WUSTL), Jake Kurczek (Haverford), Shayna Rosenbaum (York) and Carl Craver (WUSTL)

The psychological and neurological processes underlying remembering past experiences have been the focus of many studies. Of central interest is whether the role that the medial temporal lobe (MTL), a brain region necessary for formation and recollection of past experiences, plays is limited to temporal storage, or it is also involved in constructing coherent fictitious or future scenes/events. Here we show that five amnesic individuals with focal bilateral MTL damage can construct a coherent narrative of a 24-page children’s picture book. Despite their significant memory deficits, the performance of individuals with MTL damage was on par with the performance of the controls. These findings indicate that the individuals with MTL damage are not impaired at constructing narratives. These findings suggest a role for MTL in generating episodic details, but not necessarily a further role in the construction of coherent fictitious or future scenes/events.