Cognitive Performance on Piagetian Tasks by Alzheimer's Disease Patients

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine cognitive abilities in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients using Piaget's child developmental theory. Thirty elderly AD patients and 30 elderly control subjects were given two traditional Piagetian measures, the Infant Psychological Development Scale and the Concrete Operations Test. Half of the AD subjects (15) were in Piaget's sensorimotor or preoperational stages, while the remaining half of the AD subjects and all elderly control subjects were in Piaget's concrete operational stage, x2 [1, N = 60] = 17.42, p <0.001. If subsequent studies confirm that AD patients' cognitive characteristics are similar to Piaget's theoretical model, nursing care might be individualized based on mental competence, thus minimizing the commonly observed caregiver overestimation and underestimation of the AD patient's ability to understand and cooperate.

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