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This month's topic: Amnesia, a condition in which memory is disturbed, is no doubt a familiar concept to anyone who's seen a Hollywood movie, a sitcom, or a soap opera. In real life, maybe you've heard the occasional news report about a missing person found wandering around in a fugue state — confused, far from home, with no idea who he is. Or more commonly, of a victim of head injury who retains no memory of the moments, or days, or even years, leading up to the trauma. Horrifying at a most elemental level, the idea of amnesia fills us with angst...and questions. Why is it that some victims forget the past but are able to form new memories, while for others it's exactly the opposite? Is it really possible to repress years of constant childhood trauma and then recall it suddenly, decades later? How can someone be at a total loss for personal and emotional memories, but still be able to read, write, and do math? Come learn how the study of amnesia has provided researchers with important insights into how the normally functioning brain forms memories.

Speaker: Art Shimamura; Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

About the series: Ask a Scientist is an informative, entertaining science lecture series, held at a San Francisco cafe. Each event features a speaker on a current topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure…just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries.

Official Website: http://www.askascientistSF.com

Added by fourquarts on April 22, 2007