Cognitive procedural learning in early Alzheimer's disease: Impaired processes and compensatory mechanisms
Article first published online: 11 APR 2011
©2011 The British Psychological Society
Journal of Neuropsychology
Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 31–42, March 2012
How to Cite
Beaunieux, H., Eustache, F., Busson, P., de la Sayette, V., Viader, F. and Desgranges, B. (2012), Cognitive procedural learning in early Alzheimer's disease: Impaired processes and compensatory mechanisms. Journal of Neuropsychology, 6: 31–42. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-6653.2011.02002.x
- Issue published online: 21 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 11 APR 2011
- Received 20 July 2010; revised version received 1 February 2011
Introduction. The aim of this study was to study cognitive procedural learning in early Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Methods. Cognitive procedural learning was assessed using the Tower of Hanoi (TH) task. In order to take account of possible interactions between different systems during cognitive procedural learning, we also measured non-verbal intellectual functions, working memory, and declarative memory.
Results. Our results showed an apparent preservation of cognitive procedural learning in AD and a deleterious effect of the disease on verbal intelligence and declarative memory. Correlational analyses revealed a difference between AD patients and control participants in the type of processing they applied to the task.
Conclusion. The non-involvement of declarative memory would appear to be partly responsible for a slowdown in the cognitive procedural dynamics of AD patients. As the AD patients were unable to use their declarative memory, they were still in a problem-solving mode at the end of the learning protocol and had to implement higher order cognitive processes (i.e., compensatory mechanisms) to perform the procedural task.