The Self-Reference Effect on Episodic Memory Recollection in Young and Older Adults and Alzheimer’s Disease

Author(s): Jennifer Lalanne, Johanna Rozenberg, Pauline Grolleau, Pascale Piolino

Journal Name: Current Alzheimer Research

Volume 10 , Issue 10 , 2013

Become EABM
Become Reviewer
Call for Editor


The Self-reference effect (SRE) on long-term episodic memory and autonoetic consciousness has been investigated in young adults, scarcely in older adults, but never in Alzheimer's patients. Is the functional influence of Selfreference still present when the individual's memory and identity are impaired? We investigated this issue in 60 young subjects, 41 elderly subjects, and 28 patients with Alzheimer's disease, by using 1) an incidental learning task of personality traits in three encoding conditions, inducing variable degrees of depth of processing and personal involvement, 2) a 2- minute retention interval free recall task, and 3) a 20-minute delayed recognition task, combined with a remember-know paradigm. Each recorded score was corrected for errors (intrusions in free recall, false alarms in recognition, and false source memory in remember responses). Compared with alternative encodings, the Self-reference significantly enhanced performance on the free recall task in the young group, and on the recognition task both in the young and older groups but not in the Alzheimer group. The most important finding in the Alzheimer group is that the Self-reference led the most often to a subjective sense of remembering (especially for the positive words) with the retrieval of the correct encoding source. This Self-reference recollection effect in patients was related to independent subjective measures of a positive and definite sense of Self (measured by the Tennessee Self Concept Scale), and to memory complaints in daily life. In conclusion, these results demonstrated the power and robustness of the Self-reference effect on recollection in long-term episodic memory in Alzheimer's disease, albeit the retrieval is considerably reduced. These results should open new perspectives for the development of rehabilitation programs for memory deficits.

Keywords: Self-reference effect, episodic memory, recollection, self-concept, aging, Alzheimer's disease.

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2013
Page: [1107 - 1117]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/15672050113106660175
Price: $65

Article Metrics

PDF: 12