Relying on procedural memory to enhance independence in daily living activities: Smartphone use in a case of semantic dementia


Relying on procedural memory is a promising approach for interventions that address the cognitive difficulties found in semantic dementia. The aim of this study was to determine if procedural memory could be used to optimise learning of relevant smartphone functions in MH, a 55-year-old man with semantic dementia. The impact of learning to use specific smartphone applications, which display concepts and their semantic characteristics, on relearning useful significant concepts, was also explored in MH. This patient, who showed no deficits in procedural learning on a serial reaction time paradigm, was able to learn manipulations related to 15 smartphone functions although, because of his deficit in word comprehension, he generally needed verbal cues to clarify which functions he was asked to perform. Six months after the end of the intervention, he was still using 8 of the 15 functions regularly. However, repeated exposure to concepts through the use of two applications did not improve naming or retrieval of semantic attributes. This study showed the potential of relying on procedural memory to optimise learning of new technologies in the ecological rehabilitation of semantic dementia.

Neuropsychol Rehabil