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Misplacing or Losing Objects | What's Happening in the Brain

One way to think about memory is to think about putting things in a box. You place them there (a process called registration), you keep them there (a process called retention) and you take them out when needed (a process called retrieval). What happens in 'everyday' (routine/healthy) misplacing objects is that the memory for where the item was placed in the first instance was never laid down - the problem is one of registration, because you weren't paying attention at the time. By contrast, in Alzheimer's disease , the problem is one of retention - the memory has gotten lost, and therefore can't be retrieved.

The reality is more complex, of course. However, here is one way in which that account of registration/retention/retrieval falls short. When we retrieve a memory, it is not as though it was sitting in the box intact. Instead, what happens is that we assemble the memory from many pieces of information in the brain. In this way, a better word than 'retrieval' might be 'reassembly'.



See Also:
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Memory of Past Events
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Delusions and Paranoia
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Irritability/ Frustration
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Anxiety and Worry
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Last updated September 13, 2017
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