Implicit memory for music in Alzheimer's disease

Neuropsychology. 2000 Jul;14(3):391-7. doi: 10.1037//0894-4105.14.3.391.


Short, unfamiliar melodies were presented to young and older adults and to Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients in an implicit and an explicit memory task. The explicit task was yes-no recognition, and the implicit task was pleasantness ratings, in which memory was shown by higher ratings for old versus new melodies (the mere exposure effect). Young adults showed retention of the melodies in both tasks. Older adults showed little explicit memory but did show the mere exposure effect. The AD patients showed neither. The authors considered and rejected several artifactual reasons for this null effect in the context of the many studies that have shown implicit memory among AD patients. As the previous studies have almost always used the visual modality for presentation, they speculate that auditory presentation, especially of nonverbal material, may be compromised in AD because of neural degeneration in auditory areas in the temporal lobes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Music*
  • Neuropsychological Tests