Naïve Beliefs About the Natural World in a Case of Childhood Onset Amnesia

William Winter

Abstract


The individual profiled here (M.S.) suffered an episode of severe oxygen deprivation (anoxia) at the age of eight, damaging memory relevant structures in the mid-temporal lobes, including the hippocampus bilaterally. The resulting anterograde amnesia was characterized by profound deficits in autobiographical memory, but also a compromised ability to acquire new facts and information (semantic memory), resulting in the formation of idiosyncratic and naïve beliefs about the natural world that have persisted into his adult years. This article presents an interview with M.S. in which many of these idiosyncratic beliefs are detailed, and argues that they can be broadly viewed as the interaction of; 1) intact frontal lobe functioning that supports the application of rational analysis to his lived experience, and 2) an impoverished factual knowledge base upon which to construct sophisticated and evidence-based models of his lived experience and of natural world processes.

Keywords


amnesia; childhood onset; naïve beliefs

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