Dr. Suzanne Corkin died last week. You might not recognize her name, but if you’ve taken an introductory psychology class, you might be familiar with her famous patient, H.M.
Dr. Corkin worked with Henry Molaison, aka patient H.M., a man who had brain surgery to treat epilepsy. Portions of his brain were removed, including parts of his hippocampus and amygdala. After the surgery, Molaison suffered from issues with his memory, including severe anterograde amnesia. He could no longer form new memories, and had difficulty remembering events leading up to his surgery. Dr. Corkin’s work provided answers concerning the role of the hippocampus in memory retrieval. Because of her, we know the hippocampus is critical in the consolidation of long-term memories.
Thank you, Dr. Corkin, for your contributions to psychology. Thanks to your research, we know more about the mechanisms allowing us to remember you. For more information on Dr. Corkin, see her obituary in the NY Times.