Mechanisms of Memory

2nd Edition

Authors: J. David Sweatt
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123749512
eBook ISBN: 9780080959191
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 12th November 2009
Page Count: 362
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This fully revised 2e provides the only unified synthesis of available information concerning the mechanisms of higher-order memory formation. It spans the range from learning theory, to human and animal behavioral learning models, to cellular physiology and biochemistry. It is unique in its incorporation of chapters on memory disorders, tying in these clinically important syndromes with the basic science of synaptic plasticity and memory mechanisms. It also covers cutting-edge approaches such as the use of genetically engineered animals in studies of memory and memory diseases. Written in an engaging and easily readable style and extensively illustrated with many new, full-color figures to help explain key concepts, this book demystifies the complexities of memory and deepens the reader’s understanding.

Key Features

  • More than 25% new content, particularly expanding the scope to include new findings in translational research.
  • Unique in its depth of coverage of molecular and cellular mechanisms
  • Extensive cross-referencing to Comprehensive Learning and Memory
  • Discusses clinically relevant memory disorders in the context of modern molecular research and includes numerous practical examples


Senior undergraduates and graduate students studying memory, as well as those interested in the medical professions and in translational aspects of basic memory research.

Table of Contents

Foreword to First Edition Preface to First Edition Preface to Second Edition Acknowledgments

  1. Introduction: The Basics of Psychological Learning and Memory Theory I. Introduction A. Categories of Learning and Memory B. Memory Exhibits Long-Term and Short-Term Forms II . Short-Term Memory A. Sensory Memory and Short-Term Storage B. Working Memory C. The Prefrontal Cortex and Working Memory D. Reverberating Circuit Mechanisms Contrast with Molecular Storage Mechanisms for Long- Term Memory III. Unconscious Learning A. Simple Forms of Learning B. Unconscious Learning and Unconscious Recall C. Unconscious Learning and Subject to Conscious Recall D. Operant Conditioning E. Currently Popular Associative Learning Paradigms IV . Conscious Learning — Subject to Conscious and Unconscious Recall A. Declarative Learning B. Spatial Learning V . Summary Further Reading Journal Club Articles References
  2. Studies of Human Learning and Memory I. Introduction — Historical Precedents with Studies of Human Subjects A. Amnesias B. Memory Consolidation II . The Hippocampus in Human Declarative, Episodic, and Spatial Memory A. Anatomy of the Hippocampal Formation B. Lesion Studies in Human Memory Formation C. Imaging Studies III . Motor Learning A. Anatomy B. Habits C. Stereotyped Movements D. Sequence Learning IV . Prodigious Memory A. Mnemonists B. Savant Syndrome C. You are a Prodigy V. Summary Further Reading Journal Club Articles References
  3. Non-Associative Learning and Memory I. Introduction — The Rapid Turnover of Biomolecules II. Short-Term, Long-Term, and Ultralon


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About the Author

J. David Sweatt

David Sweatt obtained his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of South Alabama before attending Vanderbilt University, where he was awarded a Ph.D. for studies of intracellular signaling mechanisms. He then did a post-doctoral Fellowship at the Columbia University Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, working on memory mechanisms in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Eric Kandel. From 1989 to 2006 he was a member of the Neuroscience faculty at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, rising through the ranks there to Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Ph.D. program. Dr. Sweatt’s laboratory studies biochemical mechanisms of learning and memory. In addition, his research program also investigates mechanisms of learning and memory disorders, such as mental retardation and aging-related memory dysfunction. He is currently the Evelyn F. McKnight endowed Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at UAB Medical School, and the Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He also is a Professor the Departments of Cell Biology, Genetics, and Psychology at UAB. Dr. Sweatt has won numerous awards and honors, including an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award, and election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This year he won (along with Michael Meaney and Catherine Dulac) the Ipsen Foundation International Prize in Neural Plasticity, one of the most prestigious awards in his scientific field. From 1998 until 2002 he attended drawing and painting classes at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. As an artist he explores the use of painting as a medium for expressing topics of interest in contemporary biomedical research. In 2009 he published a textbook, Mechanisms of Memory, which is illustrated with original paintings and describes current models for the molecular and cellular basis of memory formation.

Affiliations and Expertise

McKnight Brain Institute, Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA