Introduction

Amnesic disorders can be broadly classified across two orthogonal dimensions. Along the first dimension, there can be transient or discrete episodes of amnesia as opposed to persistent memory impairment. On the second dimension, memory loss can result from either neurological damage or psychological causation, although admixtures of these factors are, of course, very common. The notion of confabulation has traditionally been associated with amnesic syndromes, particularly the Korsakoff syndrome, although it may have a separate basis, and false memories are now known to arise in a number of different situations. With the advent of drugs purporting to influence memory, there is increasing interest in the psychopharmacology of memory disorders. In this chapter, these topics will be considered in turn.

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