Human memory can be split into familiarity and recollection processes which contribute to different aspects of memory function. These separate processes result in different experiential states. In this review, we examine how this dominant theoretical framework can explain the subjective experience of people with Alzheimers disease, the profile of their memory impairments and their inability to reflect on their performance metacognitively. We conclude with a brief overview of the brain regions supporting conscious experience of memory, and propose that the memory and awareness deficits seen in Alzheimers disease could be conceived of as a deficit in autonoetic consciousness. A future priority for research is to take these robust constructs into research programmes examining rehabilitation and pharmacological intervention.
Keywords: Recollection, familiarity, awareness, metacognition
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