Despite their cognitive impairment, patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) often make important life choices. When making choices, people frequently attempt to directly compare the features of different options, rather than evaluating each option separately. Not every feature has an analogous (or alignable) feature in the other option, however. In 2005, Mather's group found that both younger and older adults filled in such gaps when remembering, creating features in the other option to contrast with existing features. In the present study, such effects of alignability on recognition memory were not found in patients with mild AD. This finding suggests that patients with mild AD are less likely to engage in feature-by-feature comparison processes across choice options, a change that may lead them to make qualitatively different choices than healthy older adults.
Copyright (c) 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.