Journal of Neuropsychology

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Volume 11 Issue 3 (September 2017), Pages 305-457

Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome increases source‐confusion errors: A pilot study (pages 436-449)

We explored external source monitoring (i.e., discrimination between memories of two externally derived sources) in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS). Our specific aim was to ascertain whether, relative to controls, patients exhibit more source‐confusion errors when there are similarities between two external memory sources. We recruited 22 patients with OSAS and 22 controls matched for sex, age, and education. The experimental procedure we used came in three phases. First, participants viewed a target film. Second, they were shown a mixed set of photographs, some taken from the film (target photographs), others not (photographs taken from other films not viewed by participants; lures). Lures differed either conceptually or perceptually from the target film. Third, the following day, participants were shown a set of photographs and urged to determine whether the photographs were taken from the target film or whether they were images they had seen for the first time in Phase 2. Patients correctly attributed the same number of target photographs to the target film as controls. By contrast, they incorrectly attributed more lures to the target film than controls did, especially when the lures were semantically similar to the film (perceptual lures). Both perceptual and conceptual source‐confusion errors were significantly correlated with oxygen desaturation during sleep. Results suggest that the higher number of source‐confusion errors observed in patients with OSAS was linked to an impaired ability to recollect specific perceptual details of the study items and that hypoxia is the main contributing factor to this deficit.

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