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Neuropsychology. 2011 Nov;25(6):734-40. doi: 10.1037/a0025475.

Metamemory and prospective memory in Parkinson's disease.

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Bradford Dementia Group, School of Health Studies, University of Bradford, UK.



Metamemory is integral for strategizing about memory intentions. This study investigated the prospective memory (PM) deficit in Parkinson's disease (PD) from a metamemory viewpoint, with the aim of examining whether metamemory deficits might contribute to PM deficits in PD.


Sixteen patients with PD and 16 healthy older adult controls completed a time-based PM task (initiating a key press at two specified times during an ongoing task), and an event-based PM task (initiating a key press in response to animal words during an ongoing task). To measure metamemory participants were asked to predict and postdict their memory performance before and after completing the tasks, as well as complete a self-report questionnaire regarding their everyday memory function.


The PD group had no impairment, relative to controls, on the event-based task, but had prospective (initiating the key press) and retrospective (recalling the instructions) impairments on the time-based task. The PD group also had metamemory impairments on the time-based task; they were inaccurate at predicting their performance before doing the task but, became accurate when making postdictions. This suggests impaired metamemory knowledge but preserved metamemory monitoring. There were no group differences regarding PD patients' self-reported PM performance on the questionnaire.


These results reinforce previous findings that PM impairments in PD are dependent on task type. Several accounts of PM failures in time-based tasks are presented, in particular, ways in which mnemonic and metacognitive deficits may contribute to the difficulties observed on the time-based task.

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