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Memory. 2011 Nov;19(8):993-1003. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2011.626428.

Directed forgetting of autobiographical memory in mild Alzheimer's disease.

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Laboratoire de Psychologie, Université d'Angers, Angers, France. mohamad.elhaj@etud.univ-angers


Using the autobiographical directed forgetting method (Barnier et al., 2007), the present paper addressed the intentional inhibitory processes of episodic and semantic autobiographical memory in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Mild AD patients and healthy elderly people were instructed to either forget or to continue remembering previously generated autobiographical events. In a later recall test they were asked to reconstruct the early-generated memories regardless of the forget/remember instruction. Autobiographical reconstruction was further distributed into episodic and semantic memories. Results showed no forget instruction effect on episodic or semantic autobiographical recall with AD patients, whereas healthy elderly people were able to inhibit only episodic autobiographical memories. The findings suggest an impairment of the intentional inhibitory processes in autobiographical memory with AD and a relative preservation of these mechanisms with normal ageing. They also demonstrate an earlier decline in the intentional inhibitory processes compared to the autobiographical deterioration in AD.

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