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Technological memory aids for people with memory deficits
Kapur, N., Glisky, G.L., and WILSON, B.A.
Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 14(1-2), 41-60
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This paper reviews the application of external memory aids and computer-based procedures for the enhancement of memory functioning in neurological patients particularly adults with non-progressive brain injury and those with mild/moderate memory deficits. Memory aids may function as event memory aids to improve prospective memory functioning (Herrmann et al., 1999), or as knowledge memory aids to facilitate the acquisition and utilisation of factual information. We review the range of available external memory aids and evidence on their efficacy in clinical settings. Several studies have shown that external memory aids act as effective reminders and improve prospective memory functioning. Computer-based resources and procedures for improving memory functioning include those that serve similar functions to external memory aids, those which present memory tasks as memory retraining exercises, those which instruct the individual in the use of memory strategies, those which directly assist in domain-specific knowledge acquisition, and those which form the basis of "virtual reality" memory rehabilitation procedures. While there may be potential for computer-based procedures, there is at present only limited evidence on their efficacy and cost-effectiveness. We outline practical issues relating to the implementation of memory aids in clinical settings. We consider future developments that may impact on the application of external memory aids and computers in the treatment of human memory disorder.