Patterns of impairment in autobiographical memory in the degenerative dementias constrain models of memory

Adrian Ivanoiu, Janine M. Cooper, Michael F. Shanks, Annalena Venneri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Detailed study of the autobiographical memory (ABM) impairments seen in different forms of degenerative dementia, in particular Alzheimer's disease (AD) and semantic dementia (SD) can inform neuropsychological models of memory. A modified ABM questionnaire which allowed more detailed analysis of episodic and semantic ABM was used to study the pattern of deficits in patients with minimal to mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in two patients with mild and moderate semantic dementia (SD). The questionnaire tested both cued and free recall. A group of healthy elderly was also tested. AD patients differed from controls in all measures. There was no clear temporal gradient for episodic ABM, but a modest gradient was observed for semantic ABM. The mild SD patient performed at control level for episodic ABM but showed a deficit within the range of the AD patients for semantic ABM except for the most recent life period. In contrast the moderate SD patient was impaired within the range of the AD patients for both episodic and semantic ABM. The evidence for differential impairment of episodic and semantic ABM retrieval in AD and SD is interpreted as supporting the multiple trace model of memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1936-1955
Number of pages20
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006



  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Consolidation theory
  • Dementia
  • Episodic memory
  • Multiple trace theory
  • Semantic dementia
  • Semantic memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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