When a person is affected by amnesia (I’ve only ever seen it portrayed in movies) How are they still able to speak English properly?

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When a person is affected by amnesia (I’ve only ever seen it portrayed in movies) How are they still able to speak English properly?

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Different parts of the brains handle different things. Language is in one part of the brain, so is doing other stuff like walking and using tools. Amnesia typically affects only the memory portion of your brain. So they forget their memories, but retain language an the use of tools and how to walk and stuff.

Because that’s a different part of the brain. I got amnesia and completely forgot who I was, and how to make new memories.
When I woke up at the hospital for some reason it was completely empty. I wondered around looking for a nurse, but there was no people anywhere, patients, doctors or nurses. And the only memory my brain could come up with was a vague recollection of horror movies like 28 days.

Declarative memories (where you can verbally say “I remember when…”) are stored differently from procedural memories. There are people who lose the ability to encode new declarative memories as a result of certain types of brain damage, but they can learn new skills. Mirror drawing is the example I remember from my cognitive psych class — drawing backwards in a mirror is difficult at first, but then people gradually get better. People with a particular type of amnesia will improve at mirror drawing, but they won’t remember having practiced before if asked. Speaking English, walking, getting dressed, etc. are all procedural memories.

It’s worth remembering that the movies very rarely get things right. And in the case of amnesia they get it very, very wrong. Full retrograde amnesia, where a person wakes up with no memories whatsoever, is vanishingly rare. So rare, in fact, that some experts aren’t convinced that it actually exists. Amnesiacs always or almost always have some memories left.

MOST cases of amnesia prevent people from creating new memories. This is why they can identify people they know, language, etc. But creating new memories… For a good idea of how that works, watch Momento.