Effects of Alzheimer's disease on visual enumeration

Elizabeth A. Maylor*, Derrick G. Watson, Zoe Muller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Speeded enumeration of visual objects typically produces fast and accurate performance for up to 3 to 4 items (subitization) but slower and less accurate performance thereafter (counting). We investigated enumeration ability in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in age-matched controls. AD patients were slower overall than controls. The subitizing span was significantly reduced in AD patients compared with controls (2.3 vs 3.5 items) and counting rate was significantly slower (451 vs 349 ms/item). Error rates were similar in the two groups except at numerosity 3, when AD patients made errors but controls did not (consistent with their subitizing spans). Within the AD patient group, several aspects of performance correlated significantly with Mini-Mental State Examination scores. Together, the results provide a striking contrast with studies showing preservation of enumeration ability in normal aging.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2005

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