EMOTION AND MEMORY IN PATIENTS WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

picture of Karen Peralta presenting his/her poster: EMOTION AND MEMORY IN PATIENTS WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Karen Peralta , Edmarie Guzman-Velez, Dr. Daniel Tranel

EMOTION AND MEMORY IN PATIENTS WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Patients with focal-bilateral hippocampal damage, but relatively intact amygdala, are able to sustain emotional experiences despite their inability to recall the event that elicited such emotion. Similar to amnesics, patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) have declarative memory impairment due to damage to the hippocampus. Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests that patients with AD are able to acquire and retain new emotional knowledge, despite progressive memory loss. Based on these findings, we aimed to study whether an emotion can persist in patients with AD despite their memory loss for the event that induced the emotion. Patients in varying stages of AD were recruited. Each AD participant was matched with a healthy comparison participant for age, sex and education. All participants underwent an emotion induction paradigm that entailed watching a series of highly emotional film clips designed to induce sadness or happiness. A detailed memory test for the films was administered shortly after the end of each induction. Additionally, standardized emotion rating scales that measure both valence and arousal were administered at four different time points. Patients with AD significantly recalled fewer details for both sad and happy films compared to healthy comparisons. Yet, despite declarative memory deficits, patients with AD had a long-lasting experience of the induced emotion. This suggests that both positive and negative emotional experiences can persist in patients with AD, despite their memory loss for the event that induced the emotion.  

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