Types of errors on a semantic interference task in mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Objective: This research aimed to determine whether qualitative analysis of different types of intrusion errors on a verbal cognitive task was useful in detecting subtle cognitive impairment in preclinical stages prior to the progression to dementia. Method: Different types of semantic intrusions on the Loewenstein-Acevedo Scales of Semantic Interference and Learning (LASSI-L) were compared across 160 individuals diagnosed as cognitively normal (CN), amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI), and dementia. The sample included Hispanics and non-Hispanic European Americans. Results: Across diagnostic groups, the most common type of intrusion error was actual targets presented from a competing word list under conditions eliciting proactive semantic interference (PSI), and retroactive semantic interference (RSI), followed by intrusions that represented one of three overlapping semantic categories but none of the targets from List A or B. Nonsemantic intrusions rarely occurred. These competing list intrusions (CLI) and semantically related intrusions (SRI) differentiated between aMCI and CN participants. Further, these intrusion error were related to brain amyloid load, indicating their importance as potential primary markers of AD-related neurodegeneration. Ethnicity effects were not seen across the types of intrusion errors. Conclusions: Two types of intrusion errors (CLI and SRI) showed differences between the CN and aMCI group, with the aMCI group evidencing a higher rate of these intrusion errors compared with the CN group. These results support previous literature about the LASSI-L’s sensitivity at the earliest stages of abnormal aging. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)