The Idea of Procedural Memory in “Memento”

Published: 15th June 2007
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In the beginning of the movie "Memento", the main character, Leonard Shelby, wakes up in a hotel room not understanding for what purpose and where he is. Leonard developed the amnesia resulting from brain damage. In the movie, Leonard keeps in mind all previous events up to the moment when he was hurt. Fascinatingly, he also remembers his diagnosis, as in one of the scenes he gives details of his diagnosis. Leonard did not lose the ability to deliberate logically; he also entirely realizes own individuality. Simultaneously, he cannot maintain memories and records those either in his remarks or makes photos of the events. Leonard is not able to go further than his own reasonable reasoning and assumptions. The main hero may get confused if a talk takes too long and lose track of the discussion. The doctor states that he had lost the short term memory. In actual fact, the doctor is wrong because Leonardo has short term memory; but the reason of problem is that it is not prearranged into the long term memory.

All activities connected with procedural memory are saved and can be retrieved in Shelby's memory. Going even further, practical memory is most important to the plot in "Memento", because Leonard many times flashed back at the examination that he carried out previous to the injury of a man stating that he had amnesia. In the movie, this man, Sammy, experiences a test: he received minute electrical shots as he picks up an electrified object of certain shape. The process was repeated quite a few times in order to guarantee that Sammy's mind does not react to conditioning.

In general, the film properly reflects the idea of procedural memory and short term memory. The main character suffers amnesia, which is accurately depicted in the movie. The possible reasons of the illness contain damage to the fornix's, , mammilla bodies or hippocampus. In case of Leonard, hippocampus was injured. Even though such situation is fairly infrequent, it still can be the motive for the illness. The disorder is indicated with the failure to create memories of the actions experienced - information to be moved from short term memory to the long term one.

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