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H.M. taught us about memory by losing his own

Henry Molaison is well known by thousands of psychology students as "H.M". Henry Molaison lost his memory on an operating table in an attempt to cure epilepsy. The study of H.M. has revolutionized our understanding of the organization of human memory.


Particularly his case played a significant role in the development of theories that explain the link between brain function and memory, and in the development of cognitive neuropsychology.

A life in the present

H.M. suffered from epileptic seizures for many years, and underwent an experimental brain surgery in the hope of curing his severe epilepsy. The operation was successful in that it significantly reduced Henry's seizures, but it left him with a severe case of amnesia. H.M. was unable to form new long-term memories of novel events or new semantic knowledge – he basically lived in the present.

H.M. became the most famous studied patient in neuroscience, and this research has provided lasting contributions to the field. Dr. Suzanne Corkin is one of the researchers who has spent decades on research with H.M. Her research has been a major contribution to our understanding of systems of memory and the brain. Corkin is a Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, Emerita, in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, and is head of the Corkin Lab.

Anniversary presentation

Corkin will give the presentation “Permanent Present Tense: The Unforgettable Life of the Amnesic Patient H.M.” on June 10th at a seminar honoring Professor Ivar Reinvang. Corkin has collaborated with Professor Ivar Reinvang and her lecture is part of a seminar honoring his 70th anniversary.

Professor Reinvang is a highly acknowledged researcher in clinical neuropsychology, as well as basic research within the field of brain and cognition. In honor of his 70th anniversary, a special issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology is released, and a seminar with presentations by some of Ivar Reinvang` s colleagues and distinguished researchers in cognitive neuroscience is held.

Go to anniversary programme

By Stine Bjørløw Dalsøren
Published May 27, 2014 10:13 AM - Last modified May 27, 2014 10:38 AM