I would first like to propose a distinction between memory rehabilitation and recovery from organic memory disorders. The literature on recovery is well summarized by O’Connor and Cermak (1987) and will not be re-reviewed here. The material presented here will focus on memory rehabilitation. Efforts at designing, applying, and evaluating various memory rehabilitation methods have become a growth industry in recent years and merit separate discussion. Furthermore, I would propose the position that memory rehabilitation cannot be unequivocally evaluated while natural recovery is or is likely to be ongoing. Such evaluations may only confirm the view of our more cynical critics that rehabilitation is what one does while the patient gets better by herself or himself. It may actually be the case that systematic rehabilitation efforts potentiate natural recovery, but there is an obvious indeterminacy problem here from the standpoint of scientific evaluation. Thus, the ideal subject for rehabilitation research is a patient with a stable but nonprogressive condition.
KeywordsFree Recall Closed Head Injury Amnesic Patient Memory Training Memory Disorder
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