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Hippcampal Dysfunction in Psychosis

Stephan Heckers, M.D.
Chairman, Department of Psychiatry
James G. Blakemore Professor in Psychiatry and
Professor of Radiology
Vanderbilt University

Why is the brain important to studies of psychosis or depression? How do such illnesses affect the brain? How do areas of the brain give rise to cognition and more particularly, memory? Stephan Heckers, M.D. compares the brain and the focus we put on the brain to the universe, stating that rather than having the diagnosis at the center of our universe, we must put the brain into the center of our universe of thinking. Dr. Heckers is not claiming that the hippocampus should be at the center, but the brain as a whole. He continues to discuss the hippocampus, its function, and its differences in those with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses. Dr. Heckers also shares some thought about other areas of the brain in regard to sensory experience. A study conducted by Dr. Heckers focuses on the encoding of new information, consolidation, and recollection, most commonly referred to as recall and recognition. He outlines the many types of memory and how they are different and then briefly touches on transitive inference, noting that Piaget was wrong in his theory; transitive inference is actually found in children four or five years of age as well as monkeys. Dr. Heckers concludes by looking at the differences between the right and left hippocampus.


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