Recently, I’ve been listening to John Kilstrom’s UC Berkeley Social Cognition course (available through iTunes U) during my commute. One incidental fact jumped out at me during a recent lecture.
Amnesiacs continue to have impressions of their own personality–if asked, they can describe what they’re like, despite not having the episodic memories necessary to do that. Moreover, it’s not just based on memories from the period prior to acquiring amnesia–even patients whose personalities changed over time or as a result of the damage that gave them amnesia were able to give assessments which matched their current personality. That suggests that one’s representation of one’s own personality is not entirely based on episodic memory.