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December 3, 2008 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Henry G. Molaison, known to psychology and neurology students worldwide as "H.M.", dies. Previously.
posted by dmd (26 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously. Dies, "H.M." as worldwide students neurology and psychology to known, Molaison G. Henry.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:50 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by Bromius at 12:52 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


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Damn.

Poor guy. He's in our memories. No disrespect meant.
posted by orthogonality at 1:02 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by sperose at 1:25 PM on December 3, 2008


Poor guy -- I had no idea he lived to be so old. It seems poignant somehow that he will never realise the kind of impact he had on our current understanding of memory.

On the last day of class on memory, the professor left us with the following food for thought:

1) Suppose that all of your wishes could be fulfilled within 24 hours -- anything and everything that you could ever dream of -- but only on the condition that you can never remember anything you did during those 24 hours.

2) Suppose that your wishes could never be physically fulfilled, but that the false memories of having these experiences can be implanted in your mind such that you truly believe that the experiences were real.

Which of the two alternatives would you choose? Our sense of self and personal history arises from our experiences -- but we only know of these experiences through our recollections. Are we, then, just a product of our memories? Do experiences impact us only to the extent that we are able to recall them?

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posted by tickingclock at 1:48 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I’ll remember Sammy Jankis.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:49 PM on December 3, 2008


He's in our memories.
I just choked on my gum.

It is odd to thank someone for having a debilitating condition, the study of which offers such great insights into the cognitive sciences.

Oh, and thanks for inspiring Memento too.
posted by furious_george at 1:49 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by homunculus at 2:02 PM on December 3, 2008


Hell is a Perfect Memory
posted by homunculus at 2:03 PM on December 3, 2008


I've been fascinated by his story for years. RIP.

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posted by jokeefe at 2:13 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by hopeless romantique at 2:34 PM on December 3, 2008


“Right now, I’m wondering, ‘Have I done or said anything amiss?’ You see, at this moment everything looks clear to me, but what happened just before? That’s what worries me. It’s like waking from a dream.” - H.M., 1965

“Every day is alone in itself, whatever enjoyment I’ve had, and whatever sorrow I’ve had.” - H.M., 1968

Thank you, H.M. You have contributed so much more to the science of the brain than you could have ever realized.

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posted by parudox at 2:43 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by digaman at 2:51 PM on December 3, 2008


Isabella Rossellini quoted her mother as saying the key to happiness was good health and a short memory.

The older I get, the more I agree.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:36 PM on December 3, 2008


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So many of my psych classes discussed this guy. He was well known, and I hope he lived a happy life.
posted by olya at 6:12 PM on December 3, 2008


He was 27 when he died - I wonder if he was surprised when he looked in the mirror as a 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old man?
posted by olya at 6:14 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


*died == got the operation, didn't die. He died at 82. Sorry for the typo!
last post
posted by olya at 6:15 PM on December 3, 2008


olya: Your typo stands. He was 27 when he died, but he still saw an 82-year-old man in the mirror.

I'm really fascinated by this as well. I actually spent WAY too much time making an EP-length project/album thingie about another man with a similar condition. The twists and turns of these types of amnesia make for a great musical/lyrical springboard.
posted by nosila at 6:38 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by zippy at 7:08 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by NikitaNikita at 7:18 PM on December 3, 2008


Good old H.M. was always one of my favorite case studies in my psychology classes. Here's to you, sir, you will be remembered.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:23 PM on December 3, 2008


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posted by Smart Dalek at 2:31 AM on December 4, 2008


Thanks tickingclock (and thanks to your prof too). I intend to use that conundrum on my students this term when once again we consider, uneasily, H.M.

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posted by fcummins at 7:07 AM on December 4, 2008


Oh, wow. I had no idea he was still alive. Bon voyage.
posted by Eideteker at 6:19 PM on December 4, 2008


NY Times article about him.
posted by Eideteker at 5:34 AM on December 6, 2008


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posted by LobsterMitten at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2008


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