A selective deterioration of working memory functions has been suggested as an explanation of the cognitive decay occurring in normal ageing as well as in Alzheimer-type dementia. Recent studies have highlighted that elderly people's limitations in working memory functions may be better interpreted when analysing the specific characteristics of the cognitive process (i.e., passive storage or active manipulation of information). In the present study, we have adapted a procedure used to investigate age-related memory modifications, involving both verbal and visuo-spatial material in tasks tapping passive and active processes, to investigate the deterioration associated with Alzheimer's disease. A group of Alzheimer patients in the early stages of the disease were matched to a control group of healthy elderly. Results show that Alzheimer patients performed less accurately than the control group in all tasks. However, the deficit was maximised in the case of active processes, regardless of the type of material used (verbal or visuo-spatial). These data highlight the importance of considering the amount of active processing as the key variable when interpreting the decay in cognitive functions in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|
- Alzheimer-type dementia
- Working memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology