Free recall memory deficits are common at early stages of Parkinson's disease (PD). As most studies have used intentional memory tasks, there is little information on how non-intentional, incidental encoding conditions affect memory performance in PD. We studied possible differences between PD patients and controls on free recall using incidental and intentional visual memory tasks. Free recall was examined in relation to attentive/executive functioning and subjective memory complaints. A total of 29 non-demented, medicated PD patients (age 60, disease duration 19 months) and 29 healthy controls (age 61) participated in the study. Incidental free recall was studied using a memory-modification of the Boston naming test (Memo-BNT) and intentional free recall with the 20 Objects test. There was a significant main effect for group due to worse free recall performances in the PD group. No statistically significant interaction between group and encoding condition was observed. The free recall deficit in the PD group was related to cognitive/psychomotor slowing, but not to attentive/executive task demands, or to subjective memory complaints. The results indicate that PD patients are impaired on free recall irrespective of encoding condition.
- Free recall
- Parkinson's disease