Awareness of memory functioning in early Alzheimer's disease: Lessons from a comparison with healthy older people and young adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


To compare awareness of memory in people with early Alzheimer's disease (AD) with older and younger control groups in order to clarify the contributions of disease and ageing. Twenty-one individuals with early AD, 32 older people (OP) and 32 younger people (YP) estimated their performance before and following each of four tests of memory. Those with AD significantly overestimated performance prior to testing, confirming the presence of unawareness for prediction. Their estimates were adjusted for age in a similar way to those of OP, who predicted their performance accurately. Younger people significantly underestimated their performance. Following memory tests, YP and those with AD significantly adjusted their ratings towards greater accuracy but on average those with AD still overestimated. There were variations in post-test ratings from over to under prediction in all three groups. Heightened awareness post-performance may open possibilities of cognitive rehabilitation to consolidate momentary into more long-term awareness, whilst the operation of possible psychosocial influences suggests that emotion oriented interventions to increase acceptance and decrease shame might be helpful.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-767
Number of pages7
JournalAging & Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007