Previous investigations of memory in senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT) have focused on verbal learning and memory. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the amnesia of SDAT is limited to verbal material. Patients with SDAT (N = 29; mean age = 69.3) and healthy normal controls (N = 41; mean age = 69.3) were given a test of facial perception and two recognition memory tasks, one for words and one for faces. The results indicate that dementia patients show a deficit in the retention of facial information. This deficit cannot be attributed to faulty initial perception or to a response bias. The verbal and facial memory deficits in SDAT appear to differ: performance on tests of verbal and facial memory is relatively independent, substantial encoding and linguistic defects contribute to the verbal, but not the facial, memory disorder resulting in more severe impairment on tests of verbal memory. The implications of these findings for research on the neuropharmacology and pathophysiology of SDAT are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience