Processing and short-term retention of relational information in amnesia

Jennifer D. Ryan, Neal J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a recent eye-movement study [Psychol. Sci. 11 (2000) 454], amnesic patients failed selectively to exhibit long-term effects of memory for the relations among the constituent elements of scenes. This failure could be due to a deficit specifically in long-term relational memory, as we have suggested; or in retention of relational information over any delay, whether involving perceptual processing and short-term maintenance or long-term memory, consistent with suggestions from recent studies of the hippocampus; or in on-line processing of relational information, as would occur in perceptual or feature binding. Here we show robust eye-movement effects of relations among elements of scenes in amnesia in a short-delay matching task, with the same materials and in the same amnesic patients in which long-delay conditions elicited failure. These findings document intact processing and short-term retention of relational information in amnesia, indicating that amnesia associated with hippocampal damage results in a relational memory deficit, specifically of long-term memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-511
Number of pages15
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Amnesia
  • Hippocampus
  • Long-term memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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