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Glossary Picture
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Neuropsychology is the study of the relationship between brain and behavior.  
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Alzheimer's dementia is a progressive neuropsychological disorder characterized by a severe loss of factual and personal memories and a general decline in cognitive ability. Day-to-day memory is dramatically impaired, and patients often feel disoriented with respect to time and place. The cognitive deficit associated with Alzheimer's dementia is much more extensive than that associated with semantic dementia. Moreover, the pattern of brain damage associated with Alzheimer's dementia is one of widespread, patchy damage to many areas, including the medial temporal lobe structures and areas throughout the neocortex.  
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Amnesia is a general term used to describe instances of memory loss. There are numerous types of amnesia, however medial temporal lobe (MTL) amnesia (often called "classic amnesia") has received the most research attention. MTL amnesia results from focal damage to a set of structures deep in the centre of the brain: the hippocampal complex. Patients suffering from this dirorder show severe anterograde amnesia (i.e. they are unable to store any new long-term memories after the onset of brain damage) and comparatively mild loss of memory acquired prior to brain damage (i.e. retrograde amnesia). Despite this profound deficit in memory, patients with MTL amnesia show no decline in general cognitive or perceptual ability.  
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The basal ganglia is a group of large nuclei in the forebrain.  
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A cognitive map is the mental representation of a set of spatial relationships.  
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Elaborative encoding refers to our conscious and effortful cognitive interaction with information being put into memory. Information that is elaborated upon has a greater chance of being remembered.  
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Explicit memory refers to the conscious recollection of information.  
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FMRI stands for "functional magnetic resonance imaging". It is a neuroimaging technique used to study activity in the brain. It shows which structures are active during particular mental operations.  
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The frontal lobes are the outermost lobes at the front of the brain. They lie just beneath your forehead. They are involved in planning, thinking, and reasoning.  
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The hippocampus a structure deep within the medial temporal lobes. It is implicated in the storage and retrieval of memories for personally experienced events. The "hippocampal complex"is a set of structures deep in the centre of the brain (in the medial temporal lobe region) that includes the hippocampus proper, the subiculum, the fornix, the entorhinal cortex and the perirhinal cortex. These structures are thought to play a critical role in the storage of new memories and in their integration with previously acquire  
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H.M. is a man who, in the 1950's, had a large portion of his medial temporal lobes removed to lessen his epileptic seizures. As a result, he got amnesia. He was unable to remember events that happened to him before the surgery. H.M. is still alive and continues to be studied.  
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Implicit memory refers to remembering information but not being consciously aware of "remembering". For example, many motor skills (ie. riding a bike, playing the piano) are forms of implicit memory.  
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The medial temporal lobes are located on either side of the brain. Cup your hands around your ears. This is approximately where they lie. They are involved in memory and language.  
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The neocortex is part of the outermost layer of our brains. It is responsible for our highest mental functions (e.g. planning and strategy formation/execution).  
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Nonelaborative encoding refers to our very superficial cognitive interaction with new information that is effortlessly put into memory, if at all. Information that is not elaborated upon has a small chance of being remembered.  
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Parietal Cortex The parietal lobe is a lobe in the brain. It is positioned above the occipital lobe and behind the frontal lobe. The parietal lobe integrates sensory information from different modalities, particularly determining spatial sense and navigation. The parietal lobe plays important roles in integrating sensory information from various parts of the body, knowledge of numbers and their relations, and in the manipulation of objects. Portions of the parietal lobe are involved with visuospatial processing.  
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PET stands for "positron emission tomography". It is a neuroimaging technique used to study parts of the brain as they function. The colourful computer images you see of working brains are actually PET scans. They show the brain's metabolic processes.  
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Semantic dementia is a progressive neuropsychological disorder characterized by a multi-modal deficit in semantics (or meaning) that typically develops following damage to regions of the temporal neocortex. This disorder results in a loss of lexical (language) knowledge and of general factual knowledge; language production and comprehension are severely impaired. In contrast, day-to-day memory abilities are largely preserved.  
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The temporal neocortex is part of the outermost layer of the brain (neocortex). The temporal neocortex is located on either side of the brain. Cup your hands around your ears. This is approximately where they lie. They play a critical role in high level visual processing and in the long-term storage of language, general knowledge, and autobiographical memories.  
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