Short-term motor memory in Korsakoff patients

Perceptual and Motor Skills
L S Cermak, B Uhly


10 amnesic alcoholic Korsakoff patients were compared with 10 chronic alcoholics for their ability to retain a simple motor movement over either a 10- or 20-sec. interval. During this interval the opportunity for rehearsal was minimized by having the patients engage in either a verbal or a motor distractor task. Under both conditions the Korsakoff patients were impaired relative to the control subjects, with very little difference between the two types of interference. It was concluded that Korsakoff patients have a short-term motor retention deficit that cannot be explained simply as an inability to mediate the task verbally.


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