Naturalistic measures of prospective memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Jacinta Delprado, Glynda Kinsella, Ben Ong, Kerryn Pike
Psychology and Aging 2013, 28 (2): 322-32
Several studies have now reported that individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) are impaired on laboratory-based measures of prospective memory (PM). However, the age-PM paradox has revealed that impairment observed in the laboratory does not necessarily reflect functioning in day-to-day life. The current study examined naturalistic measures of PM by comparing participants with aMCI to healthy older adults on experimenter-introduced PM tasks (Experiment 1) and on participants' own, self-generated PM tasks (Experiment 2). Individuals with aMCI were found to be globally impaired on each of the naturalistic measures of PM Strategy use was found to be a distinguishing feature between the two groups with healthy older adults using more written strategies, whereas individuals with aMCI relied more on another person providing a reminder. Also of note was that both groups only used strategies around half the time for their own PM tasks. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for interventions and the day-to-day functioning of individuals with aMCI, a population that is struggling to maintain independence in the community.

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