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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 6 (1993), Issue 3, Pages 167-170
Case Report

The Possible Contribution of the Amygdala to Memory

R. Babinsky,1,4,5 P. Calabrese,1,2 H. F. Durwen,2 H. J. Markowitsch,1 D. Brechtelsbauer,2,3 L. Heuser,3 and W. Gehlen2

1Physiological Psychology, University of Bielefeld, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany
2University Clinic of Neurology, Knappschaftskrankenhaus Bochum-Langendreer, D-44892 Bochum, Germany
3University Clinic of Radiology, Knappschaftskrankenhaus Bochum-Langendreer, D-44892 Bochum, Germany
4Neurology Department, Kamillus-Clinic, D-53563 Asbach, Germany
5Neurology Department, Kamillus-Clinic, 0-53563 Asbach, Germany

Received 30 July 1993; Accepted 10 August 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The processing of episodic memories is believed to depend on the proper functioning of so-called bottleneck structures through which information apparently must pass in order to be stored long term. These regions are seen in the basal forebrain, the medial diencephalon, and the medial temporal lobe. We here report a case with circumscribed bilateral temporal lobe damage, principally involving the amygdaloid area. Neuropsychological investigation demonstrated preserved intelligence, intact general memory and several other undisturbed cognitive functions, but a specific, affect-related, memory disorder. We conclude from these findings that the role of the amygdala is to process mnemonic events in a way that a specific emotional significance can be found and reactivated. Therefore it is suggested that the amygdala is likely to be a bottleneck structure for affect-related long-term memory functions.