The Case of Jimmie G., the Man Frozen in Time
Jimmie G. was a good-looking, friendly 49-year-old. He liked to talk about his school days and his experiences in the navy, which he was able to describe in detail. Jimmie was an intelligent man with superior abilities in math and science. In fact, it was not readily apparent why he was a resident of a neurological ward. When Jimmie talked about his past, there was a hint of his problem.When he talked about his school days, he used the past tense; when he recounted his early experiences in the navy, however, he switched to the present tense. More worrisome was that he never talked about anything that happened to him after his time in the navy. Jimmie G. was tested by eminent neurologist Oliver Sacks, and a few simple questions revealed a curious fact: The 49-year-old patient believed that he was 19. When he was asked to describe what he saw in a mirror, Jimmie became so frantic and confused that Dr. Sacks immediately took the mirror out of the room. Returning a few minutes later, Dr. Sacks was greeted by a once-again cheerful Jimmie, who acted as if he had never seen Sacks before. Indeed, even when Sacks suggested that they had met recently, Jimmie was certain that they had not. Then Dr. Sacks asked where Jimmie thought he was. Jimmie replied that all the beds and patients made him think that the place was a hospital. But he couldn’t understand why he would be in a hospital. He was afraid that he might have been admitted because he was sick, but didn’t know it. Further testing confirmed what Dr. Sacks feared. Although Jimmie had good sensory, motor, and cognitive abilities, he had one terrible problem: He forgot everything that was said or shown to him within a few seconds. Basically, Jimmie could not remember anything that had happened to him since his early 20s, and he was not going to remember anything that happened to him for the rest of his life. Sacks was stunned by the implications of Jimmie s condition. Jimmie G.s situation was heart-wrenching. Unable to form new lasting memories, he was, in effect, a man frozen in time, a man without a recent past and no prospects for a future, stuck in a continuous present, lacking any context or meaning.
Analysis of the case
Jimmie’s case is so interesting to a student of psychology, there are so many ideas coming into my mind after reading this case. The previous history of the man is not described in this article so we cannot if there was any kind of injury to his brain or what happen to him in the army. I think that something really bad happen to him in the army or he saw something horrible and he was trying to forget it, maybe he did not want to make any memories after that incident and so he cannot do so he was just living in his previous life where he was happy like he was in regression. It can also happen because of the dissociative identity disorder that he keeps clearing his mind of his recent experiences so he can maintain the identity that he wanted to make. Similar to DID patients because they also totally forget the personality they had and take on a new one but in Jimmie’s case he was just keep rewinding the same personality. May be it was because of some defaults in his cognitive functioning due to some problem in brain. In information processing theory of cognition we study that the human cognition works like a computer so in Jimmie’s case it is possible that he loses the ability to process and store the new information that he gather from his sensory experiences. If we speak in computers’ language then we can say that maybe his hard disk was full and he cannot store any more information in there. Or after some second his brain would restart without saving the recently experienced information. We don’t know for sure what causes Jimmie, all we can do is try to make a sense out of it with all the information we have right now.