Emotional enhancement of perceptual priming is preserved in aging and early-stage Alzheimer's disease.
Perceptual priming for emotionally-negative and neutral scenes was tested in early-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients and healthy younger, middle-aged and older adults. In the study phase, participants rated the scenes for their arousal properties. In the test phase, studied and novel scenes were initially presented subliminally, and the exposure duration was gradually increased until a valence categorization was made. The difference in exposure duration required to categorize novel versus studied items was the dependent measure of priming. Aversive content increased the magnitude of priming, an effect that was preserved in healthy aging and AD. Results from an immediate recognition memory test showed that the priming effects could not be attributable to enhanced explicit memory for the aversive scenes. These findings implicate a dissociation between the modulatory effect of emotion across implicit and explicit forms of memory in aging and early-stage AD.
LaBar, KS; Torpey, DC; Cook, CA; Johnson, SR; Warren, LH; Burke, JR; Welsh-Bohmer, KA
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