chapter  9
26 Pages

Forgetting due to retroactive interference in amnesia: Findings and implications

ByMICHAELA DEWAR, NELSON COWAN, AND SERGIO DELLA SALA

Imagine the improbable. A man with a dense anterograde amnesia is lying in bed at night, at home, watching television while his wife, who generally strives to be at his side, steps out of the room to take a shower. During that time, there is a power failure and both the man and his wife are left in the dark and the silence, separated for all of 7 minutes while she gropes around for her towel, glasses, and so on. She is worried because he might have time to become disoriented, forget what he was doing, and come looking for her. When she finally makes it back to the bedroom, it is still dark and her husband, who hears her coming, states, “I was just watching a show about dog tricks.” The wife is astounded, as her husband has not remembered anything for this long since before his stroke.