Recognition, recollection, familiarity and executive function in medicated patients with moderate Parkinson's disease


should be addressed to Nicola M. J. Edelstyn, School of Psychology, University of Keele, Staffordshire ST55BG, UK (e-mail:


There is conflicting evidence about whether Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with deficiencies in recognition memory (RM) and the processes which underlie it, namely recollection (a form of recall) and familiarity (a feeling of memory in the absence of recall). The aims of the current study were to examine forced-choice verbal RM (assessed with the Warrington Recognition memory Test), yes-no RM, recollection, familiarity and executive functioning in 17 patients with moderate PD and 17 healthy volunteers matched for age and premorbid intelligence. We predicted that patients with moderate PD would display a significant recollection deficit on the yes-no RM test, because their strategic memory processing that depends on executive functioning and is necessary for efficient encoding and/or retrieval, was disrupted. In contrast, familiarity memory, which is not dependent on these processes, and forced-choice RM (which is largely dependent on familiarity) should show higher levels of preservation. We also predicted that recollection should be correlated with severity of executive dysfunction. Our findings revealed that the PD patients were as likely to accurately discriminate between targets and distractors as the healthy volunteers on both RM tests. However, the PD patients were significantly less reliant on recollection-driven recognition decisions on the yes-no RM test when compared with the healthy control group. The patients also displayed executive function deficits, but these were not correlated with recollection. The extent to which the PD patients' reliance on familiarity at the expense of recollection is explained by impairments in strategic memory processes/executive function and/or medial temporal lobe retrieval processes needs further exploration.