Memory awareness disruptions in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: comparison of multiple awareness types for verbal and visuospatial material

Anthony J. Ryals*, Jonathan T. O’Neil, M. Marsel Mesulam, Sandra Weintraub, Joel L. Voss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Successful memory is normally accompanied by explicit awareness of retrieval and confidence in the accuracy of the retrieval product. Prior findings suggest that these features of metamemory can be dissociated from retrieval accuracy in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI). However, the literature on this question contains variable and conflicting results, likely because of differences in experimental conditions. We sought to systematically evaluate memory awareness disruptions in aMCI using multiple measures and stimulus formats within the same individuals. Memory awareness was tested with global predictions and postdictions, judgments of learning, confidence level ratings, and modified feeling-of-knowing ratings in tasks of visuospatial and verbal memory. These tests were administered to 14 individuals with aMCI and 15 healthy, age-matched controls. Memory awareness accuracy was calculated as the correspondence between subjective judgments and memory performance.Individuals with aMCI demonstrated impaired global and trial-level retrospective task awareness for visuospatial and verbal stimuli. Additionally, modified feeling-of-knowing awareness was impaired selectively for verbal stimuli. Statistical effect sizes for global awareness impairments were comparable to impairments in several objective neuropsychological memory assessments.Memory awareness (metamemory) disruptions in aMCI were most evident for a subset of subjective judgment types and task input modalities. These findings advance understanding of the nature of memory impairments in aMCI and support the utility of incorporating memory awareness testing to better characterize memory integrity in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-598
Number of pages22
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2019


  • AMCI
  • metamemory
  • monitoring
  • recognition memory
  • self-awareness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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