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Two further investigations of autobiographical memory in semantic dementia

Graham, Kim Samantha ORCID:, Kropelnicki, A., Goldman, W. P. and Hodges, J. R. 2003. Two further investigations of autobiographical memory in semantic dementia. Cortex 39 (4-5) , pp. 729-750. 10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70861-X

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A number of investigations in semantic dementia have documented better retrieval of recent personal events compared to those in the more distant past (Graham and Hodges, 1997). Westmacott et al. (2001) challenged this result, however, finding relative preservation of remote memories in a single case of semantic dementia when he was tested using family photographs. In Experiment 1, we tested two possible explanations for the discrepancy between the published papers: (a) that there is a significant effect of modality in autobiographical retrieval in semantic dementia (e.g., patients will show better, or even preserved, remote memory when tested on nonverbal, compared to verbal, tasks); and (b) that the distinct pattern seen between patients is attributable to the different methods adopted for scoring the episodic quality of the memories. A patient with semantic dementia, AM, produced autobiographical memories to both words and family photographs. These personal events were scored by two raters using the scoring method described by Westmacott et al. (2001) and that reported by Graham and Hodges (1997). It was found that AM showed similar levels of remote memory impairment regardless of whether the cue was verbal or nonverbal. In addition, significant effects of time were revealed in AM's performance on the verbal memory test, regardless of which method was used to score the memories. In Experiment 2, we investigated a related question: whether the relatively better retrieval of memories in semantic dementia could be due to over rehearsal of highly salient recent experiences? Four patients were tested on their ability to remember a recent event (either a trip to London or events from a Formula One Grand Prix race) using specially designed autobiographical questionnaires. It was found that all four were able to perform this task, although one patient showed evidence of some forgetting over three months, and another exhibited difficulty discriminating between two similar events. Together, the two experiments further confirm that patients with semantic dementia show a modality independent autobiographical memory deficit, with better retrieval of recent events.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Systems Immunity Research Institute (SIURI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: episodic memory, retrograde amnesia, semantic memory, temporal gradients, modality-specific effects
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0010-9452
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 09:01

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