Dr Fraser Milton
Senior Lecturer

Research

Research interests

Memory deficits in Transient Epileptic Amnesia (TEA)

TEA is a form of temporal lobe epilepsy in which the main if only manifestation of the seizure is a period of amnesia usually lasting around half an hour. During this time period, there may be difficulty in recalling recent events or in laying down a memory for current ones.

Two additional, persistent, interictal memory complaints are common among patients with TEA:

  • ‘Autobiographical Amnesia‘ is a patchy, but dense, loss of the ability to evoke memories for salient life events, often extending back over several decades, well before the onset of symptoms of epilepsy. We are currently investigated the specific nature of these remote memories deficits. Particular questions we are interested in are: 1) Is there a greater deficit for personal than public memories; 2) Is there a greater deficit for episodic than semantic memories; 3) Do the deficits extend throughout the life time or are they temporally graded; 4) What are the differences in the neural substrates of remote autobiographical memory retrieval between TEA patients and control participants?
  • ‘Accelerated Forgetting‘ is the excessively rapid decay of memories that appear to have been acquired successfully, noted by the patient days to weeks after initial encoding. Current work has looked at accelerated forgetting of everyday information using a novel camera, SenseCam which captures images automatically every 30 seconds. Future work will examine whether SenseCam can have a beneficial effect on maintaining information over time.http://www.pms.ac.uk/time/

More details can be found at: http://www.pms.ac.uk/time/

Free Classification

The ability to spontaneously group itmes into categories is an important aspect of everyday cognition. My work has looked at how particular factors such as stimulus properties, time pressure, concurrent load, and previous decisions influence the type of categories we choose to create. Some of my recent work has focused on the distinction between a quick, automatic, holistic system (non-analytic processing) and a more time-consuming, rule-based, system, requiring working memory capacity (analytic processing). Recent work has suggested that the use of the analytic system is widespread, and under certain condition, can be used to construct categories organised by overall similarity.

More details and links to reprints can be found at: http://ccal-exeter.org

Grants

2003 ESRC PhD Research Studentship

Category Construction: A study of the principles underlying category formation

2006 ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 70,167.74

Processes of Free Classification

2014 CLES strategic fund 3,898.

How does working memory training work in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

2014-2017 Dunhill Medical Trust 179,343.

Transient Epileptic Amnesia: Causation, prognosis and the benefits of treatment.

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