The effects of healthy aging, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease on recollection, familiarity and false recognition, estimated by an associative process-dissociation recognition procedure

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Given the uneven experimental results in the literature regarding whether or not familiarity declines with healthy aging and cognitive impairment, we compare four samples (healthy young people, healthy older people, older people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment – aMCI –, and older people with Alzheimer's disease – AD –) on an associative recognition task, which, following the logic of the process-dissociation procedure, allowed us to obtain corrected estimates of recollection, familiarity and false recognition. The results show that familiarity does not decline with healthy aging, but it does with cognitive impairment, whereas false recognition increases with healthy aging, but declines significantly with cognitive impairment. These results support the idea that the deficits detected in recollection, familiarity, or false recognition in older people could be used as early prodromal markers of cognitive impairment.

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