Use of autobiographical memory cues as cognitive support for episodic memory: Comparison of individuals with mild-stage Alzheimer's disease and healthy older adults

  • Author / Creator
    Cochrane, Karen
  • The purpose of the study was to examine the effectiveness of autobiographical memories to support the improvement of episodic memory (i.e., word recall) in patients with mild- stage Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and healthy older adults. Participants included 20 healthy young-old adults (M Age = 70.90; M MMSE = 28.70), 20 healthy old-old adults (M Age = 79.75; M MMSE = 28.05), and 15 patients with mild-stage AD or mixed dementia (M Age = 74.73; M MMSE = 22.47). Participants were presented with three lists of 30 words, each administered under a different support condition: (1) no cognitive support,(2) autobiographical memory support, and (3) semantic support. In the autobiographical memory support condition, participants associated each to-be- remembered word with a personal memory that was then shortened to a word cue for use in subsequent memory testing. In the semantic support condition, participants associated each to-be-remembered word with a one-word descriptor. Memory was assessed with three recall conditions: immediate free recall, cued recall, and recognition. It was expected that autobiographical memory cues would be more effective than general semantic cues in improving number of words recalled in patients with mild-stage AD and healthy older adults. The results indicated that healthy older adults and patients with mild- stage AD benefited from both forms of cognitive support. Although the young-old group recalled more words in the autobiographical than in the semantic support condition across the three recall conditions, the differences were not significant. The old-old group recalled more words in the autobiographical than in the semantic support condition on tests of immediate free recall. In contrast, the mild AD group recalled more words in the autobiographical than in the semantic support condition on tests of cued recall and recognition. A limitation was the ceiling effect for recognition performance in the young- old and old-old group. Consistent with previous studies, the results indicate that patients with mild-stage AD can benefit from cognitive support to improve episodic memory if support is provided at encoding and retrieval. The results suggest that autobiographical memory cues may be effective for improving everyday memory performance in healthy older adults and patients with mild-stage AD.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Frender, Robert H. (Educational Psychology)
    • Dixon, Roger A. (Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Truscott, Derek (Educational Psychology)
    • Scialfa, Charles (Univeristy of Calgary)
    • Small, Brent (University of South Florida)
    • Everall, Robin (Educational Psychology)