Une approche incarnée du vieillissement normal et pathologique : compréhension du fonctionnement mnésique selon les interactions entre mémoire et perception

Authors: Vallet, Guillaume.
Advisor: Simard, Martine
Abstract: Normal aging as Alzheimer’s disease are characterized by memory disorders, primarily for episodic memory. These two populations also present a sensory and perceptive decline, which are strongly correlated with their cognitive impairment. The links between memory and perception may be easily explained in the embodied cognition theory. Indeed, embodiment states that knowledge dynamically emerges from a single memory system in which knowledge remains grounded in its properties, essentially sensory-motor properties. Consequently, perception and memory are closer than previously thought and the links between perception and memory moving to the foreground. The objective of the present research is to assess the embodied cognition theory applied to normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease. To this aim, the nature of the semantic multisensory interactions was tested. According to the multiple memory systems framework, these interactions are indirect and semantic, whereas the embodied cognition theory states that these interactions are direct and perceptual. Young adults, healthy elderly and patients with Alzheimer’s disease completed two experiments. Each experiment was composed of a complete neuropsychological battery and one cross-modal priming paradigm (audition to vision). The novelty of the paradigm was to present a visual meaningless mask for half of the sound primes. Experiment 1 was composed of two distinct phases, whereas the prime and the target were presented in the same trial in Experiment 2. The adaptation of the paradigm in Experiment 2 allowed manipulating the semantic congruency in order to test the attention hypothesis that might underlie the cross-modal interactions. The results demonstrated a significant cross-modal priming effect in young and healthy elderly adults. The mask has interfered with the priming effect only in the semantic congruent situations. The mask interference and its specificity support the direct and perceptual nature hypothesis of the semantic multisensory interactions. This is suggesting that young and elderly adults have modal knowledge. Reversely, the patients with Alzheimer’s disease did not show any priming effect while the effect is perceptual. This result supports the cerebral disconnection hypothesis in Alzheimer’s disease. The data taken together suggest that memory disorders in normal aging could be related to a degradation of the quality of their perception and thus of knowledge. Memory impairments in Alzheimer’s disease might come from an integration disorder to bind dynamically the different components of a memory. The present research support the embodied cognition theory and demonstrates the interest of this kind of approach to explore memory functioning in neuropsychology, such as in aging. These approaches open new avenues of research by focusing on processes rather than systems and by putting on the foreground the interactions between memory and perception.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2012
Open Access Date: 18 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/23512
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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