Human cognitive neuroscience seminar
Speaker: Dr Paul Hoffman
Title: What can you learn if you have semantic dementia?
Abstract: People with semantic dementia experience profound but relatively selective loss of semantic memory, associated with atrophy to the anterior temporal lobes. I will present two studies that investigate how this impairment of the semantic system affects learning of new information. The first, using abstract visual stimuli, found that patients were unable to integrate stimulus features to form coherent categorial representations. In the second, we investigated patients’ ability to re-learn vocabulary they had lost during the course of their disease. We found that providing more variable training experiences improved the durability and generalisation of learned vocabulary. I’ll discuss the implications of these findings for understanding how episodic and semantic memory systems interact to support learning.