Recall and recognition of verbal paired associates in early Alzheimer's disease

Georgia J. Lowndes*, M. M. Saling, D. Ames, E. Chiu, L. M. Gonzalez, G. R. Savage

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    The primary impairment in early Alzheimer's disease (AD) is encoding/ consolidation, resulting from medial temporal lobe (MTL) pathology. AD patients perform poorly on cued-recall paired associate learning (PAL) tasks, which assess the ability of the MTLs to encode relational memory. Since encoding and retrieval processes are confounded within performance indexes on cued-recall PAL, its specificity for AD is limited. Recognition paradigms tend to show good specificity for AD, and are well tolerated, but are typically less sensitive than recall tasks. Associate-recognition is a novel PAL task requiring a combination of recall and recognition processes. We administered a verbal associate-recognition test and cued-recall analogue to 22 early AD patients and 55 elderly controls to compare their ability to discriminate these groups. Both paradigms used eight arbitrarily related word pairs (e.g., pool-teeth) with varying degrees of imageability. Associate-recognition was equally effective as the cued-recall analogue in discriminating the groups, and logistic regression demonstrated classification rates by both tasks were equivalent. These preliminary findings provide support for the clinical value of this recognition tool. Conceptually it has potential for greater specificity in informing neuropsychological diagnosis of AD in clinical samples but this requires further empirical support. © 2008

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)591-600
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


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