Perceptual Identification and recogntition of 2-dimensional novel line figures:Effects of encoding, left/right orientation, and Alzheimer's Disease Rawnsley, K.F

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Rawnsley, K.F
Developmental Psychology and Ageing (380106); perceptual identification; Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance (380101)
This dissertation examined recognition and perceptual identification of 2-dimensional novel line figures, comparing semantic and perceptual encoding as well as study to test changes in left/right orientation of the figures. The first three experiments involved testing first-year psychology students while the fourth experiment compared the performances of people with Alzheimer’s disease and age-matched controls. Several hypotheses were generated based on previous results. It was predicted that semantic encoding would not improve performances for the perceptual identification tests compared to perceptual encoding. As well as this, it was predicted that left-right orientation changes from study to test would affect recognition but not perceptual identification. The patients with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (DAT) were tested on recognition and perceptual identification of semantically encoded novel figures. As the patients were in the moderate stage of the disease no prediction was made about the perceptual identification test, but it was predicted that the DAT patients would be impaired on recognition of the items, compared to the age-matched controls. The novel line figures were encoded either by attaching an appropriate verbal label (semantic condition) or by judging the left/right orientation (perceptual condition) of the figures. For the perceptual identification tests participants had to identify a degraded stimulus either by completing a fragment or judging whether a briefly flashed stimulus was the same or not. The recognition tests involved participants judging whether they had seen a presented stimulus in the encoding phase,that is, judging whether the figures were old or new. Generally, the predictions were upheld and the DAT patients demonstrated positive priming in the perceptual identification test. The results supported the hypothesis that different retrieval processes govern recognition and perceptual identification tests of memory. This dissertation has demonstrated the aforementioned findings using a new perceptual identification test. It has also been demonstrated conclusively that semantic encoding does not enhance novel, non-verbal line figures. In addition, this dissertation reports positive priming for novel figures with DAT patients in the moderate stage of the disease. To the knowledge of the author, this has not previously been demonstrated with DAT patients with this level of severity. As well as this, due to the unique nature of the figure/verbal label combination used in this dissertation, the inability of the DAT patients to use semantic information has been observed.
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