This paper discusses the case of world renowned musician Clive Wearing. It includes a reflection on the significance of memory to the human person. It also explains the relevance of studying cases such as this to learning about memory.
The Case of Clive Wearing: The Importance of Memory
One of the most essential parts of the human brain is the hippocampus. It is located near the temporal lobe and is the one responsible for storage of memory. It is the memory card of the human body. The absence of such mechanism would result to catastrophic consequences.
This paper discusses a case where the hippocampus is completely destroyed because of a disease called Viral Encephalitis. This is the case of world-renowned British musician Clive Wearing.
Memory in humans is no different from memory in computers. Basically, information is relayed from the moment of perception to the different connecting circuits until it reaches the physical memory (in our case, the hippocampus) of the system. Without the physical memory of the system, it would be impossible to save new information, which is essential to future tasks.
However, unlike computers, human beings are not limited to plain information. We are a biological beings composed of behavior, reasoning, and emotion. Perception is essential to human existence because it is our basis for saying that we are here and alive. Our memories are our source of gratification that we are here, we perceive, and we act. In the case of Clive, he would often write to his diary everything that happened to him by the minute only to forget that he even wrote it. His diary is filled with erasures and cross-outs because he completely cannot recall what happened. Even the thought that he is alive is written there.
This case is a revelation of the importance of memory in human existence. It opens up the doors to practitioners of psychology in being familiar with the nature of human memory, how fragile it is and how to prevent it from deteriorating. This also gives the general public awareness as to how such disorders can be possible, whereas preventing them from the chances of getting the same fate as with Clive.
“Life Without Memory: The Case of Clive Wearing, Part 1”, (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2010