Big Picture: ‘H.M.’ and procedural memory
Using two synchronised projectors to play two parts of a film with a 20-second delay, ‘H.M.’ reflects the experience of a patient whose case radically advanced our understanding of memory.
I worked closely with Suzanne Corkin, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at MIT, throughout the development of my project. Sue herself worked closely with Patient H.M. from the 1960s on and has published many papers about him. She was hugely helpful, providing transcripts and allowing me to film the actual machines that were used to test H.M.’s procedural memory (these appear in the film at various times.) She also provided the first-person female voiceover to the film, talking about the science of memory and the unusual coincidence of growing up across the street from the neurosurgeon who performed the procedure that resulted in H.M.’s amnesia.
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