International Psychogeriatrics

Research and Reviews

Implicit Memory Performance of Patients With Alzheimer's Disease: A Brief Review

Marko Jelicic a1, Annette E. Bonebakker a2 and Benno Bonke a3
a1 Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
a2 Department of Clincal Neurology and Psychology, Psychiatric Center, Rosenburg, The Hague, The Netherlands
a3 Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Article author query
jelicic m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bonebakker a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bonke b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Memory can be assessed with either explicit or implicit tasks. Implicit memory tasks, in contrast with explicit tasks, do not refer to conscious recollection of a previous learning experience. Implicit memory is revealed by a change in task performance that can be attributed to previous learning. Amnesic patients perform poorly on explicit memory tasks, but exhibit normal performance on implicit tasks. Recently, researchers have studied the implicit memory performance of patients with Alzheimer's disease. This article aims to give an overview of the performance of Alzheimer patients on four tasks of implicit memory. Compared with normal elderly controls, patients with Alzheimer's disease seem to demonstrate impaired performance on conceptual, but not on perceptual, implicit memory tasks. This dissociation could yield important information about the neurologic systems subserving implicit memory processes. Some suggestions for future research into the implicit memory of Alzheimer patients are given.