Normal rates of forgetting of verbal and non-verbal material in Alzheimer's disease

Cortex. 1987 Mar;23(1):59-72. doi: 10.1016/s0010-9452(87)80019-9.


Recent work has suggested that patients with damage to temporal lobe structures, such as patients with Alzheimer's Disease (AD), lose information from memory at an abnormally rapid rate. In contrast, data from other studies suggest that the rate of forgetting in AD is normal. In the present study, 62 patients with mild to moderate AD and 64 elderly controls were tested for their immediate and delayed recall of a short verbal passage and a modified Rey complex figure. The results suggest that although AD patients recalled less than controls, they did not forget at a faster rate during the 30 minute retention interval, supporting the finding that these memory impaired patients do not have an abnormal rate of forgetting. The data also suggest that poor initial encoding of the stimuli may be the cause of the AD patients' impaired recall.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Form Perception*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Verbal Learning*