H.M.'s personal crossword puzzles: understanding memory and language.
The amnesic patient H.M. has been solving crossword puzzles nearly all his life. Here, we analysed the linguistic content of 277 of H.M.'s crossword-puzzle solutions. H.M. did not have any unusual difficulties with the orthographic and grammatical components inherent to the puzzles. He exhibited few spelling errors, responded with appropriate parts of speech, and provided answers that were, at times, more convincing to observers than those supplied by the answer keys. These results suggest that H.M.'s lexical word-retrieval skills remain fluid despite his profound anterograde amnesia. Once acquired, the maintenance of written language comprehension and production does not seem to require intact medial temporal lobe structures.
Skotko, BG; Rubin, DC; Tupler, LA
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