Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientists say the sharp contrasts in the memory profile of a patient with severe amnesia — her inability to remember facts about pursuits once vital to her life as an artist, musician and amateur aviator, while clearly remembering facts relevant to performing in these domains — suggest conventional wisdom about how the brain stores knowledge is incorrect.
Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University
This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.
Lisa Feigenson, a Johns Hopkins University researcher, who specializes in cognition and memory in humans as early as infancy, is a recipient of the National Academy of Sciences 2015 Troland Research Award.
Parents know the unparalleled joy and wonder of hearing a beloved child’s first words turn quickly into whole sentences and then babbling paragraphs. But how human children acquire language-which is so complex and has so many variations-remains largely a mystery. Fifty years ago, linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky proposed an answer: Humans are able to learn language so quickly because some knowledge of grammar is hardwired into our brains. In other words, we know some of the most fundamental things about human language unconsciously at birth, without ever being taught. Now, in a groundbreaking study, cognitive scientists at The Johns Hopkins University have confirmed a striking prediction of the controversial hypothesis that human beings are born with knowledge of certain syntactical rules that make learning human languages easier.