Examine The Interaction Between Cognition And Physiology In Terms Of Behaviour

1683 words - 7 pages

Cognition refers to the mental processes involved in attaining knowledge and comprehension through experience, thought, and the bodily senses; whereas physiology is the internal, fundamental biological mechanisms and functions of living organisms. Amnesia is regarded as the inability to retrieve or create memories from experience, and because of this, it is classified into two classes – retrograde and anterograde – respectively. Amnesia has multiple causes, of which include brain damage and degenerative diseases, impairing areas of the brain such as the temporal lobe or hippocampus. Because amnesia is of biological, physiological origins and deters cognitive processes such as memory creation, it implies an interaction between the two bodily processes in amnesia. This applies inversely to extensive memory usage, namely spatial memory, or the cognitive model, the memory for recording information regarding the environment and surroundings, which has shown to influence the physiology of the brain if strengthened and trained. This essay will hence attempt at examining the assumptions and interrelationships between cognition and physiology in terms of amnesia and spatial memory.

The account and studies of Henry Molaison, or simply H.M first conducted by Milner & Scoville (1957) is one of the more prominent and pioneering studies concerning amnesia and the demonstration of interactions between cognition and physiology due to the relationship discovered regarding brain and memory-related processes. H.M, began suffering from epileptic seizures at age 10, faulted to his unfortunate cycling accident at age seven, which resulted in severely damaging blows being dealt to his brain. The seizures started to escalate at age 16, and even drugs failed to repress and limit the seizures he was experiencing, so he was in 1953 sent to consult Scoville. The source for the epileptic seizures was localised to the temporal lobes, and it was recommended he undertook a bilateral medial temporal lobectomy, which removed portions of his hippocampi, cortices, and amygdalae. Though the epilepsy was ridded of, he became a patient of anterograde amnesia, depriving his explicit memory of any fresh memories, however, his working memory and procedural memory remained mostly secure. H.M also suffered from mild retrograde amnesia, as he could not recall most events that occurred near two years before the surgery, however, his procedural memory could be continually fed with new memories like that of motor skills, though not remembering having learnt them. He was studied post-surgery for a further four decades from 1957, and in 1997 underwent an MRI brain scan. The MRI scan results identified and showed the areas of the brain affected by the surgery, and proved the damage’s pervasive nature, concluding on how the hippocampus is essential in the consolidation of recent memories for long-term storage.

The studies done on H.M shows clearly the interaction between cognition and...

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