The neurocognitive mechanisms underlying dissociative amnesia

Monday 22 January 2024 (13:00-14:00)

Stacey Smith

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Institute for Mental Health

The neurocognitive mechanisms underlying dissociative amnesia

Dissociative (‘psychogenic’) amnesia refers to the loss of autobiographical memory with a presumed psychological cause. This includes memory loss for traumatic experiences, such as in PTSD. More rarely, it can involve a more extensive amnesia for several years/decades of the personal past, or, in its most extreme form, a fugue state involving total loss of memory and sense of identity. The mechanisms underlying these latter, ‘generalised’ forms of dissociative amnesia are poorly understood.

In this presentation, Laura will provide a brief overview of predisposing and precipitating factors associated with generalised forms of dissociative amnesia, and typical clinical presentations. She will then present behavioural and neuroimaging findings from a small case series, which test a hypothesised mechanism underlying the memory loss. She will end with some reflections from the participants in the study regarding their subjective experience and perceptions of their memory loss.


The webinar will take place via Zoom.  Registration in advance is required

About the Speaker

Laura Marsh, Trainee Clinical Psychologist
Kings College London

Laura is a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at King’s College London. She recently completed her PhD at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, which examined the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying dissociative amnesia. More broadly, her research has focused on disruptions to autobiographical memory across a range of neuropsychological and mental health conditions.