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Semantic networks for odors and colors in Alzheimer´s disease
San Diego State University–University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, CA, USA.
The Chines University of Hong Kong, China.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.
2010 (English)In: Neuropsychology, ISSN 0894-4105, E-ISSN 1931-1559, Vol. 24, no 3, 291-299 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: Impairment in odor-naming ability and in verbal and visual semantic networks raised the hypothesis of a breakdown in the semantic network for odors in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The current study addressed this hypothesis.

Method: Twenty-four individuals, half patients with probable AD and half control participants, performed triadic-similarity judgments for odors and colors, separately, which, utilizing the multidimensional scaling (MDS) technique of  individual difference scaling analysis (INDSCAL), generated two-dimensional  configurations of similarity. The abilities to match odors and colors with written name labels were assessed to investigate disease-related differences in ability to identify and conceptualize the stimuli. In addition, responses on attribute-sorting tasks, requiring the odor and color perceptions to be categorized as one polarity of a certain dimension, were obtained to allow for objective interpretation of the MDS spatial maps.

Results: Whereas comparison subjects generated patial maps based predominantly on relatively abstract characteristics, patients with AD classified odors on perceptual characteristics. The maps for patients with AD also showed disorganized groupings and loose associations between od rs. Their normal configurations for colors imply that the patients were able to comprehend the task per se. The data for label matching and for attribute sorting provide furtherevidence for a disturbance in semantic odor memory in AD. The patients performed poorer than controls on both these odor tasks, implying that the ability to identify and/or conceptualize odors is impaired in AD.

Conclusion: The results provide clear evidence for deterioration of the structure of semantic knowledge for odors in AD. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington, DC., USA: American Psychological Association , 2010. Vol. 24, no 3, 291-299 p.
Keyword [en]
Alzheimer’s disease, semantic networks, multidimensional scaling, olfaction, olfactory
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-34407DOI: 10.1037/a0018269ISI: 000276985500002OAI: diva2:321510
Available from: 2010-06-01 Created: 2010-06-01 Last updated: 2010-06-01Bibliographically approved

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