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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 409364, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/409364
Research Article

Memory for Emotional Pictures in Patients with Alzheimer's Dementia: Comparing Picture-Location Binding and Subsequent Recognition

1Department of Psychiatry, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Internal Post 966, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3Department of Geriatric Medicine and Alzheimer Centre Nijmegen, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
4Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Received 9 February 2011; Revised 8 June 2011; Accepted 9 June 2011

Academic Editor: Willem A. Van Gool

Copyright © 2011 Marloes J. Huijbers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Emotional content typically facilitates subsequent memory, known as the emotional enhancement effect. We investigated whether emotional content facilitates spatial and item memory in patients with Alzheimer's dementia (AD). Twenty-three AD patients, twenty-three healthy elderly, and twenty-three young adults performed a picture relocation task and a delayed recognition task with positive, negative, and neutral stimuli. AD patients showed a benefit in immediate spatial memory for positive pictures, while healthy young and older participants did not benefit from emotional content. No emotional enhancement effects on delayed item recognition were seen. We conclude that AD patients may have a memory bias for positive information in spatial memory. Discrepancies between our findings and earlier studies are discussed.