Explicit Memory and Repetition Priming in Dementia: Evidence for a Common Basic Mechanism Underlying Conscious and Unconscious Retrieval Deficits

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Abstract

The present study was designed to assess performance of Alzheimer's (AD) and Multi-infarct (MID) demented patients on the explicit and implicit versions of two memory tasks, namely Word-Stem Completion and Word-Pair Learning. Consistently with previous studies, the AD patients were deficient on the explicit and implicit versions of both tasks. In MID patients, a dissociation emerged between normal implicit and deficient explicit Word-Stem Completion. Two multiple regression analyses were performed to evaluate patients’ ability on measures of lexical-semantic competence, explicit memory, and global intellective efficiency in predicting level of repetition priming. The results demonstrate a close association between explicit and implicit memory performance in AD patients but no relation between repetition priming level and measures of lexical-semantic competence or general intelligence. Overall, the results of the present study do not support previous conceptualizations suggesting that a breakdown in the structure of semantic memory is at the root of deficient priming in demented patients. Alternative interpretations of the deficient repetition priming effect in dementia, based on a common mechanism underlying conscious and unconscious retrieval deficits, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-57
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

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