This study used the Remember/Know (R/K) procedure combined with signal detection analyses to assess recognition memory in 20 elders with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), 10 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD) as well as matched healthy older adults. Signal detection analyses first indicated that aMCI and control participants were comparable on general recognition performance. As regards AD patients, they were impaired relative to both aMCI and healthy elders. When assessing Remember and Know responses the aMCI group showed diminished sensitivity for Remember responses but intact Know responses compared to healthy elders. In contrast, AD patients showed decreased sensitivity for both Remember and Know responses compared to control and aMCI participants. The response bias index revealed that AD patients were more liberal than aMCI and control participants when providing Know responses. On the other measures, response bias was comparable between the groups. Overall, this study indicates that the R/K procedure can characterize different aspects of recognition memory performance in persons with aMCI or AD.