Cognitive Operations and Reality Monitor in Healthy and Pathological Aging

A study of healthy older adults with Alzheimer’s type dementia and the role of cognitive operations for reality monitoring

J Gen Psychol. 2009 Jan;136:21-39. doi: 10.3200/GENP.136.1.21-40.

The authors investigated the role of cognition in discriminating between externally generated and internally produced events (e.g. reality monitoring) during healthy and pathological ageing. The authors used two reality-monitoring distinctions in order to manipulate both the quantity and the quality of cognitive operations required: discriminating between I performed and I imagined performing, and between I watched someone perform and I imagined another person performing. The older adults had greater difficulty in discriminating between memories for both versions of this task than younger adults. As well, older adults with Alzheimer-type dementia had difficulty attributing a cause to imagined actions. These findings are interpreted by the authors as a result of age-related difficulties or a failure to use cognitive functions during source monitoring.


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