Limitations of the distinction between conceptual and perceptual implicit memory: A study of Alzheimer's disease

Pauline M. Maki, David S. Knopman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Previous studies suggested that perceptual implicit memory is spared in Alzheimer's disease (AD) but conceptual implicit memory is not. This dissociation is often invoked to support views of implicit memory that distinguish between perceptual and conceptual processing or systems. This study investigated an alternate hypothesis: that methodological differences between perceptual and conceptual implicit tests could account for differences in performance. Fourteen AD participants, 16 elderly controls, and 16 younger controls participated in structurally parallel conceptual and perceptual tests of implicit memory that required production of studied items. Results showed normal perceptual and conceptual priming when participants with AD generated items at study but impaired priming in both tests when they merely repeated items. These results are inconsistent with both systems and processing views of implicit memory and suggest that similarity of study and test procedures is more important than the inferred theoretical construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-474
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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