Un-total recall: Amnesics remember grammar, but not meaning of new sentences

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 13:28 in Psychology & Sociology

Syntactic persistence is the tendency for speakers to produce sentences using similar grammatical patterns and rules of language as those they have used before. Although the way this occurs is not well understood, previous research has indicated that this effect may involve a specific aspect of memory function. Memory is made up of two components: declarative and procedural. Declarative memory is used in remembering events and facts. Procedural memory helps us to remember how to perform tasks, such as playing the piano or riding a bike. A recent study suggests that the common phrase, "it's so easy, it's like riding a bike" should perhaps be replaced with "it's so easy, it's like forming a sentence."

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