Anosognosia for prospective and retrospective memory deficits: Assessment and theoretical considerations

Gianna Cocchini, Sergio Della Sala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Patients who suffer from memory loss following an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) may also suffer from anosognosia, or unawareness of their memory loss. How we define and measure anosognosia can have critical implications for its study and clinical assessment. Commonly used measures often lack standardization and reliability checks for responses. Moreover, these methods rely heavily on cognitive abilities (e.g., language abilities) that are often affected after brain injury. The aim of this study is to elucidate how to best conceptualize and detect anosognosia for memory loss by introducing a new method of assessment, the Visual-Analogue Test for Anosognosia for memory impairment (VATAmem). Methods: A total of 51 patients (M= 61 years; M= 13 years of education) with memory difficulties following ABI were recruited from outpatient clinics. A total of 73 informants were also recruited (M= 51 years old; M= 13 years of education). Both patients and informants evaluated the severity of patients’ everyday memory mistakes on the VATAmem, for prospective and retrospective memory deficits by using visual analogue scales, vignettes and check questions to ensure reliability. Results and conclusion: A total of 30% of the patients were deemed unaware of their memory deficits. Patients were less aware of their prospective (29%) than their retrospective memory difficulties (18%). The new method of assessment provided by the VATAmem reduced possible false positives and enhanced reliability. We conclude that careful consideration of methodology is a key step to interpreting anosognosia findings within a theoretical framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1031
JournalNeuropsychology
Volume33
Issue number7
Early online date24 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Anosognosia
  • memory
  • assessment
  • acquired brain injury
  • unawareness

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