One of the cognitive effects that Alzheimer’s has on the brain is the distortion of memory, which is the common symptom that caregivers and patients of Alzheimer’s disease notice. Forgetting where they put things or where they are affects their daily lives which reflect distortions of memory that should already be there. According to MacDuffie, who is part of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, controlled memories can provide useful information about the nature, severity, and mechanisms of memory errors in this disease. From examining memory distortions under short term memory conditions, the following study presents a new approach to the issues that affect the brain’s cognitive ability to remember. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease were involved in a study where memory for the events of September 11, 2001 was examined. The results were compared with control patients and concluded that there was less accurate memories from the patients with Alzheimer’s of the following days after the attacks. In addition, these patients were interviewed three months later and exposed more alteration of those memories. In other words, the memory load and retention interval are minimal under short term memory conditions but maximizes the potential for correct memory.
However, another task was developed where participants view a list of words that relate to a theme that is never presented. For example, the words bed, nap, dream, awake, and snooze are portrayed to healthy college students. The theme word that they should develop from those words is sleep. Only 40% of the students recalled the theme word and thought it was a word in the middle of the list. This demonstrates how vulnerable memory is to distortions due to associative processes. False memories attribute to activational processes that show different meanings to the mind during encoding and monitoring processes at retrieval between studied and unstudied items.