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Memory. 2005 Apr-May;13(3-4):435-40.

Just lying there, remembering: improving recall of prose in amnesic patients with mild cognitive impairment by minimising interference.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, King's College, University of Aberdeen, AB24 2UB Aberdeen, UK.


The hallmark of amnesia is poor explicit long-term memory along with normal short-term memory. It is often stated that information encountered by amnesic patients is forgotten within 1 minute of presentation. However, previous work has not distinguished between forgetting as a function of time versus the interfering material occupying that time. We show that there is a marked benefit of reduced interference in amnesic patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that is characterised by anterograde amnesia in the absence of other neuropsychological deficits and carries an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. The result suggests that long-term memory is encoded in these patients to a greater extent than had been realised but that their memory is highly vulnerable to interference.

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