Memorability of photographs in subjective cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment: Implications for cognitive assessment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Impaired long-term memory is a defining feature of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). We tested whether this impairment is item specific, limited to some memoranda, whereas some remain consistently memorable. Methods: We conducted item-based analyses of long-term visual recognition memory. Three hundred ninety-four participants (healthy controls, subjective cognitive decline [SCD], and MCI) in the multicentric DZNE-Longitudinal Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Study (DELCODE) were tested with images from a pool of 835 photographs. Results: We observed consistent memorability for images in healthy controls, SCD, and MCI, predictable by a neural network trained on another healthy sample. Looking at memorability differences between groups, we identified images that could successfully categorize group membership with higher success and a substantial image reduction than the original image set. Discussion: Individuals with SCD and MCI show consistent memorability for specific items, while other items show significant diagnosticity. Certain stimulus features could optimize diagnostic assessment, while others could support memory.


  • Wilma A. Bainbridge
  • Hartmut Schütze
  • Arturo Cardenas-Blanco
  • Coraline Metzger
  • Laura Dobisch
  • Daniel Bittner
  • Wenzel Glanz
  • Annika Spottke
  • Janna Rudolph
  • Frederic Brosseron
  • Katharina Buerger
  • Daniel Janowitz
  • Klaus Fliessbach
  • Michael Heneka
  • Christoph Laske
  • Martina Buchmann
  • Oliver Peters
  • Dominik Diesing
  • Siyao Li
  • Josef Priller
  • Eike Jakob Spruth
  • Slawek Altenstein
  • Anja Schneider
  • Barbara Kofler
  • Stefan Teipel
  • Ingo Kilimann
  • Jens Wiltfang
  • Claudia Bartels
  • Steffen Wolfsgruber
  • Michael Wagner
  • Frank Jessen
  • Chris I. Baker
  • Emrah Düzel
External organisations
  • US National Institute of Mental Health
  • Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn
  • University Hospital Magdeburg
  • University of Bonn
  • University Hospital Bonn
  • University of Tübingen
  • Charité - University Medicine Berlin
  • Universitätsmedizin Rostock
  • University Medical Center Göttingen
  • University of Cologne
  • University College London
  • University Hospital Munich
  • University of Göttingen
  • Free University of Berlin
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology


  • Alzheimer's disease (AD), Diagnostic assessment, Image analysis, Memorability, Mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Subjective cognitive decline (SCD)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-618
Number of pages9
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch