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Source amnesia

Source amnesia is an explicit memory disorder in which someone can recall certain information, but they do not know where or how they obtained it.

The disorder is particularly episodic, where source or contextual information surrounding facts are severely distorted and/or unable to be recalled. Via the use of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and explicit and implicit memory tests, researchers have performed extensive empirical research on source-amnesiacs and concluded or suggested neuropsychological geneses.

Harvard University student and researcher Shaheen Lakhan extensively studied and reviewed source amnesia [1], discussing the literature on source amnesia and its accepted correlation with the medial diencephalic system and the temporal lobes and the recently suggested linkage with the frontal lobes and special interest with the prefrontal cortex. The neuropsychological implications as in brain maturation, deterioration in the normal aging course, and damage are conveyed. The organic deterioration of the frontal lobes in the process of normal aging has a greater influence on episodic memory than perhaps pre-mature lobes in young children. Source amnesia has the ability to alter one's confidence in their memory encoded in differing conditions (i.e. conscious state or in dreaming), as in memory distrust syndrome, an inclusive disorder. Source amnesia was first presented and examined in the hypnotic environment, and further understanding the human memory process is essential in unraveling this increasingly less mysterious condition.

Figure 1. Source amnesia neuropsychological association diagram with partial information processing and long term memory organization chart.

Shaheen Lakhan & Catherine Laplace [1]