Real Art Ways Hartford, CT


Dr. Harold I. Schwartz

Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Institute of Living


Dr. David Glahn

Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center

Memento— What happens when you eliminate short-term memory?

Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Glahn discussed “HM,” a former patient at the Institute of Living who suffered from near-constant seizures and was the subject of an operation that eliminated his short-term memory. He lived for nearly 50 more years and was studied extensively.

Real Art Ways Hartford, CT

Film Synopsis

A man creates a strange system to help him remember things, so he can hunt for the murderer of his wife without his short-term memory loss being an obstacle.

Told in two different sequences of scenes—a series in black and white that is shown chronologically, and a series of color sequences shown in reverse order—Memento follows former insurance investigator Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) as he doggedly searches for his wife's murderer despite his own severe memory loss. Leonard suffers from anterograde amnesia, a condition that makes it impossible for him to form new memories. Incapable of remembering anything for more than a few minutes, he relies on an elaborate system of notes, Polaroid snapshots, and crucial facts tattooed on his body to remind himself where he is, what he's found out, and what he should do next. Aiding him in his search for his wife's killer—or perhaps using his unreliable memory for their own ends—are a cheerful fellow named Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), a beautiful bartender. As the story of Leonard's investigation unfolds backwards, each scene revealing new bits of information, an alternating narrative, involving an insurance claimant (Stephen Tobolowsky) from Leonard's past, moves forward, adding new layers of complexity and intrigue to one of the great mindbenders in cinema.

About the Speaker

Dr. Harold I. (Hank) Schwartz is a psychiatrist, hospital executive, author, and mental health advocate. Dr. Schwartz is currently psychiatrist-in-chief at the Institute of Living, vice president of behavioral health at Hartford Hospital, and a regional vice president of Hartford HealthCare. He is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and professor of psychiatry, adjunct, in the Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. David Glahn joined the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, and the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine in October of 2008. He received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at Los Angeles. From 2002–2008, Glahn was part of the Department of Psychiatry and the Research Imaging Center, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. Dr. Glahn’s research focuses on elucidating the neurobiological roots of major mental illnesses through the integration of cognitive neuropsychological, functional, and structural neuroimaging, and behavioral and molecular genetic approaches. The ultimate goal of this research is the identification of genes involved in affective and psychotic illnesses, as well as genes that influence non-pathological brain structure and function.