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Problème d'accès ou déficit de stockage ? Apport du niveau de complexité de la tâche à l'étude des troubles sémantiques lors du vieillissement pathologique : le cas de la maladie d'Alzheimer*

  • Liliana Rico Duarte (a1), Arielle Syssau (a2), Manuel Jiménez (a2), Michel Launay (a2) and Patrice Terrier (a1)...

Abstract

This study investigates three principal aspects of semantic memory processing in Alzheimer's disease: word finding, knowledge of the specific and generic attributes of concepts. Semantic memory is assessed by a range of verbal and visual tasks differentiated according to their level of complexity. Our hypothesis is that the processing of these types of information is modulated by the degree of effortful processing required by the tasks. The AD patients show more important difficulties on the tasks of high level of complexity. Nevertheless, although their performances improve when the level of complexity decreases, they significantly remain lower than those of the normal older subjects. These results are discussed with regard to the models of semantic memory, with particular reference to the debate in terms of a deficit of access or storage of this system in Alzheimer disease.

Ce travail explore trois traits caractéristiques du fonctionnement de la mémoire sémantique lors de la maladie d'Alzheimer: le traitement des noms, des informations spécifiques et des informations génériques. Nous avons évalué ces aspects avec des épreuves sémantiques verbales et visuelles en les distinguant selon leur niveau de complexité. L'hypothèse testée est que le traitement de ces différentes informations est modulé par les demandes cognitives mobilisées par les tâches. Les résultats montrent que les patients ont des difficultés plus importantes dans le traitement des tâches de haut niveau. Néanmoins, bien que leurs performances s'améliorent lorsque le niveau de complexité diminue, elles demeurent significativement plus faibles que celles des personnes âgées normales. Ces résultats sont discutés au regard des modèles de la mémoire sémantique, en particulier en référence au débat en termes de problème d'accès ou de stockage de ce système dans la maladie d'Alzheimer.

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Corresponding author

Requests for offprints should be sent to:/Les demandes de tirés à part doivent être adressées à: Ph.D. Liliana Rico Duarte, UMR 5263 du CNRS CLLE-LTC, MDR Université de Toulouse 5 allée Antonio Machado F-31058, Toulouse Cedex 9, France (+33) 5 61 50 35 38; (+33) 5 61 50 35 33. (lrico@univ-tlse2.fr)

Footnotes

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Les auteurs remercient pour leur collaboration le Dr. Pierre-Jean Ousset et Olivier Heral ainsi que tout le personnel du Centre de Gériatrie de Caselardit au CHU de Toulouse et du service de Neurologie de l'Hôpital Général de Castres.

Footnotes

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