All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

H Randall Griffith

Advisory Committee Members

Paul D Blanton

David G Clark

Roy C Martin

Virginia G Wadley

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Episodic memory is clearly impaired in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), although recent studies have revealed deficits in other cognitive domains such as attention, executive function, and semantic memory. Studies of semantic memory in MCI have been limited by inconsistent use of diagnostic criteria and variability in the measures used. The purpose of this study was to examine semantic memory in a sample of individuals diagnosed with amnestic MCI using Mayo criteria. Performance of individuals with consensus-diagnosed MCI (n=12) was compared to that of normal controls (n=15) on a battery of semantic memory tasks. MANOVA results indicated that the MCI group had significant deficits relative to controls on measures of semantic fluency, verbal abstract reasoning, and confrontation naming, although they were not frankly impaired. Individuals with MCI also demonstrated less spontaneous use of semantic clustering as a recall strategy on a verbal learning task. The utility of diagnostic cutoff scores on these semantic memory measures was explored. Overall, results indicate that individuals with amnestic MCI demonstrate subtle deficits in multiple semantic memory functions, although these deficits are not so severe to indicate impairment. Furthermore, these deficits are consistent with other literature suggesting a strong executive component in this population. The clinical utility of semantic memory measures and implications for future research are discussed.



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