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Sustaining prospective memory functioning in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a lifespan approach to the critical role of encoding

Pereira, A., Altgassen, M., Atchison, L., de Mendonça, A. and Ellis, J. (2018) Sustaining prospective memory functioning in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a lifespan approach to the critical role of encoding. Neuropsychology, 32 (5). pp. 634-644. ISSN 0894-4105

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/neu0000441

Abstract/Summary

Prospective memory (PM), the ability to remember to perform future activities, is a fundamental requirement for independent living. PM tasks pervade our daily lives, and PM failures represent one of the most prominent memory concerns across the entire life span. This study aimed to address this issue by exploring the potential benefits of specific encoding strategies on memory for intentions across healthy adulthood and in the early stages of cognitive impairment. PM performance was explored through an experimental paradigm in 96 participants: 32 amnestic mild cognitively impaired patients aged 64-87 years (M = 6.75, SD = 5.88), 32 healthy older adults aged 62-84 years (M = 76.06, SD = 6.03), and 32 younger adults 18-22 years (M = 19.75, SD = 1.16). The potential benefit of the use of enactment (i.e., physically simulating the intended action) at encoding to support an autonomous performance despite neuronal degeneration was assessed. PM was consistently identified as a sensitive and specific indicator of cognitive impairment. Importantly, enacted encoding was consistently beneficial for PM performance of all the participants, but especially so in the case of healthy and cognitively impaired older adults. These positive results have unveiled the potential of this encoding technique to optimize attentional demands through an adaptive allocation of strategic resources across both healthy and cognitively impaired samples. Theoretical implications of this work are discussed as well as the considerable translational potential to improve social well-being. A better understanding of the strategies that can enhance PM offers the potential for cost-effective and widely applicable tools which may support independent living across the adult life span.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:76853
Publisher:American Psychological Association

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