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Compensating for anterograde amnesia: A new training method that capitalizes on emerging smartphone technologies



Following a neuropathological event, individuals left with moderate-to-severe memory impairment are unable to reliably form new memories. The most common challenges involve the capacity to perform a task in the future and to consciously recall a recent event. Disruption of these memory processes leaves the individual trapped in the present, unable to stay on track, and alienated from ongoing events. Memory research has demonstrated that implicit memory is often preserved despite severe explicit memory impairment and that preserved memory systems can provide avenues for acquiring new skills and knowledge. A within-subject single-case A1-B1-A2-B2 experimental design was used to introduce an established theory-driven training program of technology use for individuals with moderate-to-severe memory impairment. We describe its application to enabling RR, an individual with memory impairment postcolloid cyst removal, to independently support her memory using a commercial smartphone. RR showed successful outcome on both objective and qualitative measures of memory functioning. Moreover, she demonstrated consistent and creative generalization of acquired smartphone skills across a broad range of real-life memory-demanding circumstances. Our findings suggest that individuals with moderate-to-severe memory impairment are able to capitalize on emerging commercial technology to support their memory. (JINS, 2009, 15, 629–638.)


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*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Eva Svoboda, Cognitive and Behavioural Health Program, Baycrest, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6A 2E1. E-mail:


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