The aim of the study was to investigate responses to dementia-relevant words in healthy older people and to investigate changes in response over 20-months in people with early-stage dementia. An emotional Stroop task, using colour-naming dementia-relevant words, was used as an indicator of implicit awareness of dementia. Overall, 24 people with dementia and 24 healthy older people completed an emotional Stroop task (T1). People with dementia completed the same task again after 12 (T2) and 20 (T3) months. For people with dementia emotional Stroop performance was contrasted with ratings of explicit awareness based on a detailed interview at T1 and at T2. For healthy older people and people with dementia response times to dementia-relevant words were significantly longer than those for neutral words. The effect was absent for people with dementia at T3. This decline in the emotional Stroop effect was not associated with cognitive decline as measured by the MMSE. Ratings of explicit awareness showed no significant change over time. There was no association between explicit awareness and implicit awareness. Implicit awareness of the condition is evident in early-stage dementia and can be elicited even where there is reduced explicit awareness. The emotional Stroop effect for dementia-relevant words in people with dementia appears to decline over time, independently of changes in MMSE score, suggesting that implicit awareness fades as time progresses.

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This post is Copyright: Anthony Martyr,
Sharon M. Nelis,
Robin G. Morris,
Ivana S. Markov√°,
Ilona Roth,
Robert T. Woods,
Linda Clare | September 2, 2023
Wiley: Journal of Neuropsychology: Table of Contents