Episodic recognition memory based on incidental learning of visual associations is largely preserved compared to recall in amnestic mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease

Sascha Rainer Albert Meyer*, Leo Boelaarts, Jaap Lindeboom, Jos F. M. De Jonghe, Rudolf Ponds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We investigated preserved episodic recognition memory based on incidental learning of visual associations in Alzheimer's disease (AD). In a cross-sectional design, we analyzed episodic memory score profiles of patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (a-MCI) (n = 42) or mild AD (n = 19) who had hippocampal atrophy, and healthy elderly controls (n = 43). The Visual Association Test-Extended served as a measure of episodic memory. Multiple-choice cued recognition was compared with paired associate recall and free recall within groups. Results showed that patients recognized learned material much better compared to when they had to recall material, resulting in large effect sizes (Cohen's d) ranging from 1.3 to 3.5. We conclude that episodic recognition memory based on incidental learning of visual associations is largely preserved when compared to recall in a-MCI and mild AD. This suggests that the episodic memory impairment in AD may be characterized as a retrieval impairment rather than a consolidation impairment, indicating that preserved recognition compared to recall may be compatible with AD being the correct diagnosis. Measuring the episodic memory impairment in AD may benefit from using tests that capture different aspects of memory processes such as incidental learning of visual associations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Neuropsychology-Adult
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Consolidation impairment
  • dementia
  • incidental learning
  • retrieval impairment
  • visual associations
  • CUED-RECALL
  • DEMENTIA
  • FAMILIARITY
  • RECOLLECTION
  • DISORDERS
  • PICTURES
  • DURATION
  • ATROPHY
  • WORDS

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