Alzheimer's disease is associated with distinctive semantic feature loss

Flanagan, Kieran J., Copland, David A., Chenery, Helen J., Byrne, Gerard J. and Angwin, Anthony J. (2013) Alzheimer's disease is associated with distinctive semantic feature loss. Neuropsychologia, 51 10: 2016-2025. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.06.008

Author Flanagan, Kieran J.
Copland, David A.
Chenery, Helen J.
Byrne, Gerard J.
Angwin, Anthony J.
Title Alzheimer's disease is associated with distinctive semantic feature loss
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
Publication date 2013-08-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.06.008
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 51
Issue 10
Start page 2016
End page 2025
Total pages 10
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Subject 3205 Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
2805 Cognitive Neuroscience
2802 Behavioral Neuroscience
Abstract A central topic of discussion in the exploration of semantic disturbance in Alzheimer's disease (AD) concerns the relative contribution of semantic content (e.g., semantic features) and semantic process. Studies have suggested that semantic dysfunction in AD is the result of deficits to either semantic process, semantic content or both. Studies that have supported the loss of semantic content have been criticised for their use of verbal stimuli and cognitively challenging experimental tasks. The current study used a novel version of the yes no recognition memory task to compare the processing of distinctive and non-distinctive features in participants with AD whilst controlling the cognitive demands of the task. The task involved five conditions which denoted the relationship between the items in the test and study phase. A 'non-distinctive' and a 'distinctive' condition were included where non-distinctive and distinctive semantic features were manipulated between study and test, respectively. Task accuracy of participants with AD decreased relative to control participants when distinctive features were manipulated between the study and test phase of the experiment. There was no significant difference between groups when non-distinctive features were manipulated. These findings provide evidence to support the loss of semantic content in AD. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keyword Alzheimer's disease
Semantic features
Semantic content
Semantic process
Mini Mental State
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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