Background: In an earlier study we showed that a powerful emotional experience (the Kobe earthquake) reinforced memory retention in patients with Alzheimer's disease, but we could not control factors other than the emotional impact of the earthquake. Aims: To test our previous findings in a controlled experimental study. Method: Recall tests consisting of two short stories were administered to 34 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 10 normal subjects. The two stories were identical except for one passage in each story: one was emotionally charged (arousing story) and the other (neutral story) was not. Results: In both groups, the emotionally charged passage in the arousing story was remembered better than the counterpart in the neutral story. In addition, the extent of the memory improvement was similar in the subjects and in the controls. Conclusions: The results provide further evidence that emotional arousal enhances declarative memory in patients with Alzheimer's disease, and give a clue to the management of people with dementia. Declaration of interest: None.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health