Background: Subjective memory complaints are a key component in mild cognitive impairment
(MCI) diagnosis. However, studies that examined memory awareness among MCI participants
have published contradictory results. One possible explanation for the inconsistent findings
could be the disregard from the multidimensional structure of subjective memory.
Objectives: The present study is directed at assessing subjective memory among healthy and MCI
participants, referring to three main types of memory: episodic, semantic, and working memory.
Methods: Participants were 123 adults (aged 50-90). They were divided into two groups, the MCI
group, and the control group, according to their objective cognitive performance in RAVL or Mo-
CA tests. All participants filled a subjective memory questionnaire, assessing their awareness of
episodic, semantic, and working memory.
Results: MCI participants estimated their semantic memory as significantly lower in comparison to
the estimation of the healthy controls. By contrast, MCI participants showed an overestimation of
their episodic memory capabilities compared to the control group. No significant difference was
found between groups (MCI and healthy controls) in evaluating their working memory. In addition,
for both groups, Pearson’s correlation revealed a significant negative correlation between age
and semantic memory evaluation. Such correlation was not found for subjective episodic memory.
Discussion: Findings suggest that while people with MCI exhibit poor awareness of their episodic
and working memory capabilities, their awareness of their decrease in semantic memory is apparently
intact. Therefore, it is suggested that when using the self-report criterion for MCI diagnosis,
clinicians should consider the patient’s’ semantic memory complaints.