amnesia (ămnē´zhə), [Gr.,=forgetfulness], condition characterized by loss of memory for long or short intervals of time. It may be caused by injury, shock, senility, severe illness, or mental disease. Some cases of amnesia involve the unconscious suppression of a painful experience and everything remindful of it including the individual's identity (see defense mechanism). Retrograde amnesia is loss of memory of events just preceding temporary loss of consciousness, as from head injury; it is evidence that memory proceeds in two stages, short term and long term. One form of the condition known as tropic amnesia, or coast memory, affecting white men in the tropics, is probably a variety of hysteria. Aphasia of the amnesic variety is caused by an organic brain condition and is not to be confused with other forms of amnesia. To cure amnesia, attempts are made to establish associations with the past by suggestion, and hypnotism is sometimes employed.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Amnesia: Selected full-text books and articles

The Amnesias: A Clinical Textbook of Memory Disorders By Andrew C. Papanicolaou Oxford University Press, 2006
Human Memory and Amnesia By Laird S. Cermak Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1982
Searching for Memory: The Brain, the Mind, and the Past By Daniel L. Schacter Basic Books, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Five "Vanishing Traces: Amnesia and the Brain" and Chap. Eight "Islands in the Fog: Psychogenic Amnesia"
New Directions in Memory and Aging: Proceedings of the George A. Talland Memorial Conference By Leonard W. Poon; James L. Fozard; Laird S. Cermak; David Arenberg; Larry W. Thompson Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 24 "Neuropsychology of Amnesia: An Approach to the Study of Memory and Aging"
The Neurobiology of Memory: Concepts, Findings, Trends By Yadin Dudai Oxford University Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 15 "Amnesias, Further Clues to Our Memories"
Unchained Memories: True Stories of Traumatic Memories, Lost and Found By Lenore Terr Basic Books, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of amnesia in multiple chapters
The Neuropsychology of Degenerative Brain Diseases By Robert G. Knight Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Librarian’s tip: "Amnesia in Korsakoff's Disease" begins on p. 69
The Handbook of Emotion and Memory: Research and Theory By Sven-©ke Christianson Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16 "Landmark Life Events and the Organization of Memory: Evidence from Functional Retrograde Amnesia"
Memory Development between Two and Twenty By Wolfgang Schneider; Michael Pressley Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Infantile Amnesia" begins on p. 2
Mechanisms of Everyday Cognition By James M. Puckett; Hayne W. Reese Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Early Memories and Amnesia" begins on p. 123
Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience By Megan R. Gunnar; Charles A. Nelson; Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Cortical versus Limbic Immaturity: Relationship to Infantile Amnesia"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.