Mental imagery and autobiographical memory in Alzheimer’s disease.

Objective: A body of experimental, neuropsychological, and neuroanatomical evidence suggests a relationship between autobiographical memory and the ability to generate mental images. This study investigated this relationship in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Method: Twenty six AD participants and 28 control participants were asked to retrieve 2 autobiographical events. They were also administered measures of visual imagery (i.e., the taller/wider task), and spatial imagery (i.e., the clock angles task). Results: Analysis showed preserved autobiographical memory and visual imagery but compromised spatial imagery in AD. Significant correlations were observed between autobiographical memory and visual and spatial imagery in AD and control participants. However, autobiographical memory was predicted by visual but not by spatial imagery. Conclusions: The ability to retrieve (i.e., visual imagery) and manipulate mental images (i.e., spatial imagery) seems to be related with autobiographical recall in AD. In particular, visual imagery may contribute to autobiographical retrieval in AD participants by providing them with visual cues that increase the ease and speed of search through the hierarchical structure of autobiographical memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)