Alzheimer’s; dementia; environment; self-recognition; human-factors




The physical environment can promote the functional ability of persons with dementia. Many care facilities use environmental signage (e.g., names on doors) to facilitate adaptive behavior (e.g., room finding). However, the effects of such signage on residents’functioning are not well understood. In three experiments, we investigated if persons with moderate to severe dementia had the required skills necessary to benefit from signage. Compared to a control condition (recognition of fellow residents’ photographs), a high percentage of participants could identify written names and photographs of themselves (Experiment 1). Moreover, name and photographic labels helped participants identify belongings (Experiment 2). Training improved some participants’ recognition of their own photographs but not of their fellow residents’ photographs (Experiment 3). These findings are consistent with research on self-reference and age-related changes in face recognition and reading, and they suggest that many persons with dementia may have the requisite abilities to benefit from prosthetic signage.


Original Citation: Gross, Jennifer, Mary E. Harmon, Rebecca A. Myers, Rachel L. Evans, Natalie R. Kay, Senez Rodriguez-Charbonier, and Thomas R. Herzog. "Recognition of Self Among Persons with Dementia: Pictures Versus Names as Environmental Supports." Environment and Behavior 36, no. 3 (2004): 424-454.

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