Musical and Verbal Memory in Alzheimer's Disease: A Study of Long-term and Short-term Memory


Brain and Cognition




Musical memory was tested in Alzheimer patients and in healthy older adults using long-term and short-term memory tasks. Long-term memory (LTM) was tested with a recognition procedure using unfamiliar melodies. Short-term memory (STM) was evaluated with same/different judgment tasks on short series of notes. Musical memory was compared to verbal memory using a task that used pseudowords (LTM) or syllables (STM). Results indicated impaired musical memory in AD patients relative to healthy controls. The deficit was found for both long-term and short-term memory. Furthermore, it was of the same magnitude for both musical and verbal domains whether tested with short-term or long-term memory tasks. No correlation was found between musical and verbal LTM. However, there was a significant correlation between verbal and musical STM in AD participants and healthy older adults, which suggests that the two domains may share common mechanisms.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Elderly; Memory; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Alzheimer Disease; Analysis of Variance; Auditory Perception; Memory Disorders; Memory, Short-Term; Pattern Recognition, Physiological; Phonetics; Recognition, Psychology

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type